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critical valueCritical results Lab medicine A lab result from a Pt that must be reported immediately to care provider, which may require urgent therapeutic action. See Decision levels.
Critical values in the laboratory
Analyte SI units US units
Calcium < 1.65 mmol/L < 6.6 mg/dl
> 2.22 mmol/L > 12.9 mg/dl
Glucose < 2.60 mmol/L < 46 mg/dl
> 26.9 mmol/L > 484 mg/dl
K+ < 2.8 mmol/L < 2.8 mEq/L
> 6.2 mmol/L > 6.2 mEq/L
> 8.0 mmol/L if hemolyzed
Na+ < 120 mmol/L < 120 mEq/L
> 158 mmol/L > 158 mEq/L
CO2 –plasma < 11 mmol/L < 11 mMol
> 40 mmol/L > 40 mMol
Hematology, eg blasts or sickle cells on peripheral smear, may indicate leukemia or sickle cell anemia
Microbiology, eg positive gram stain or culture from blood, serosal fluids or CSF, acid-fast stain or positive mycobacterial culture results
Transfusion medicine Incompatible cross-match, positive VDRL
McGraw-Hill Concise Dictionary of Modern Medicine. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
critical laboratory value, critical value
A test result obtained from a clinical specimen that is so far outside the normal range that it is likely to indicate an acute risk to the health of the patient.Synonym: critical result
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