Laboratory

Mobridge Regional Hospital has a highly specialized laboratory using the most modern medical technology and instramentation. Specifically trained and registered Medical Laboratory Technologists, Technicians, and Phlebotomists perform laboratory testing using either patient's blood, urine, body fluids or body tissues. The laboratory performs vital diagnostic testing for identifying, treating, and monitoring of patient care.

Some of these specialized tests determine the condition and or status of the heart, liver, thyroid, and kidneys, and, whether a drug level is toxic or therapeutic. Other tests indicate if an illness is bacterial or viral, if the patient is anemic or has a bleeding disorder and requires a blood transfusion, and what bacteria caused the infection and which antibiotic is necessary to treat it.

Since, its extremely important to seek medical treatment immediately upon the onset of chest pain; the laboratory's first line in the diagnosis of a heart related problem is an electrocardiograph (EKG) which measures electrical patterns in the patients heart. MRH was also one of the first labs in South Dakota to begin performing the newest and most reliable cardiac monitoring tests. These tests enable the clinician to make a fast reliable diagnosis so treatment to stop further damage to the heart can be started immediately.

Common lab tests performed at the Mobridge Regional Hospital & Clinics Lab include the following:

  • Cholesterol
    Cholesterol is different from most tests in that it is not used to diagnose or monitor a disease but is used to estimate risk of developing a disease - specifically heart disease. Because high blood cholesterol has been associated with hardening of the arteries, heart disease and a raised risk of death from heart attacks, cholesterol testing is considered a routine part of preventive health care.

    When is it ordered?
    Cholesterol testing is recommended as a screening test to be done on all adults at least once every five years. It is usually ordered as part of a routine physical exam. It may be ordered alone or in combination with other tests including HDL, LDL, and triglycerides - often called a lipid profile.
    Cholesterol is tested at more frequent intervals (often several times per year) in patients who have been prescribed diet and/or drugs to lower their cholesterol. The test is used to track how well these measures are succeeding in lowering cholesterol to desired levels and in turn lowering the risk of developing heart disease.

    What does the test result mean?
    In a routine setting where testing is done to screen for risk, the test results are grouped in three categories of risk:
    Desirable : A cholesterol below 200 mg/dL is considered desirable and reflects a low risk of heart disease.
    Borderline high: A cholesterol of 200 to 240 mg/dL is considered to reflect moderate risk. Your doctor may decide to order a lipid profile to see if your high cholesterol is bad cholesterol (high LDL) or good cholesterol (high HDL). Depending on the results of the lipid profile (and any other risk factors you may have) your doctor will decide what to do.
    High Risk: A cholesterol above 240 mg/dL is considered high risk. Your doctor may order a lipid profile (as well as other tests) to try to determine the cause of your high cholesterol. Once the cause is known, an appropriate treatment will be prescribed.

  • Triglycerides
    Blood tests for triglycerides are usually part of a lipid profile used to identify the risk of developing heart disease. If you are diabetic, it is especially important to have triglycerides measured as part of any lipid testing since triglycerides increase significantly when blood sugar is out of control.

    When is it ordered?
    Lipid profiles, including triglycerides, are recommended as routine tests to evaluate risk of heart disease in healthy adults. The test for triglycerides is not often ordered alone since risk of heart disease is based on cholesterol levels (see cholesterol, HDL, LDL), not triglycerides. However, if you have been found to have high triglycerides and are being treated for it, a triglyceride test may be ordered to see if treatment is working.

    What does the test result mean?
    A normal level for fasting triglycerides is less than 150 mg/dL. It is unusual to have high triglycerides without also having high cholesterol. Most treatments for heart disease risk will be aimed at lowering cholesterol. However, the type of treatment used to lower cholesterol may differ depending on whether triglycerides are high or normal.
    When triglycerides are very high (greater than 1000 mg/dL), there is a risk of developing pancreatitis. Treatment to lower triglycerides should be started as soon as possible.
    In most cases, test results are reported as numerical values rather than as "high" or "low", "positive" or "negative", or "normal". In these instances, it is necessary to know the reference range for the particular test. However, reference ranges may vary by the patient's age, sex, as well as the instrumentation or kit used to perform the test. To learn the reference range for your test, consult your doctor or laboratorian.

  • HDL
    The test of HDL cholesterol is used to determine your risk of heart disease. If a high cholesterol is due to high HDL, a person is probably at low risk and further testing or treatment for high cholesterol is not advised.

    When is it ordered?
    HDL is usually ordered with other tests, either with cholesterol or as part of a lipid profile, including LDL and triglycerides. The combination of total cholesterol and HDL is very useful for screening for heart disease since it is not necessary to fast for these two tests. In contrast, a more complete lipid profile requires fasting for at least 12 hours.

  • PSA
    The PSA blood screen is used as a prostate cancer indicator. Measuring the ratio of free-PSA to total PSA in the patient's blood provides additional information that helps your doctor distinguish prostate cancer from benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH) and other non-cancer-related causes of high PSA. This ratio may also help predict whether the prostate cancer is an aggressive, fast-growing disease or a slow-growing non-aggressive form of the disease.

    When is it ordered?
    The American Cancer Society recommends annual PSA and digital rectal exams for all men beginning at age 50. Men who have an increased risk for prostate cancer (such as American men of African descent and men with a family history of the disease) should start getting tested earlier, usually at age 40 or 45. PSA screening is somewhat controversial, however, because in many cases PSA testing of healthy men may be detecting early cancers that are extremely slow growing and may never cause life-threatening disease. This may cause further unnecessary testing and treatment. The total PSA test is used for screening.

  • Glucose
    Glucose testing is most commonly used to diagnose and manage diabetes. Since glucose levels in the blood vary with eating patterns, the most useful testing for diabetes is done when you are fasting-meaning that you have had nothing to eat or drink except water for 8 hours before the test.

    When is it ordered?
    Glucose testing can be used to screen healthy individuals for diabetes, because diabetes is a common disease that begins with few symptoms. Screening is especially important for people at high risk of developing diabetes-those with a family history of diabetes, those who are overweight, and those who are more than 40 years old.
    Glucose testing is also ordered in patients who complain of symptoms that suggest diabetes, such as excessive thirst, weight loss, and frequent urination. When these symptoms appear, a person may have already had diabetes for several years.
    Glucose testing is also performed during pregnancy, because during this time some women develop a temporary type of diabetes, called gestational diabetes. Pregnant women take a special glucose test, called a glucose tolerance test, between their 24th and 28th week of pregnancy. In this test, women drink a fixed amount (usually 50 grams) of glucose in solution, and their blood glucose is measured one hour later. If the blood glucose is high, they are considered at risk of developing gestational diabetes and they will undergo further testing.

  • Urinalysis
    The test is performed on a fresh urine specimen. It is best if the specimen is collected in the Lab to assure proper container and collection protocol. Some of the urine constituents checked are: pH, protein, glucose, bilirubin, presence of white blood cells or red blood cells. Results should be evaluated by physician or other healthcare practitioner to determine if further testing is needed.
  • TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone)

    TSH testing is used to: diagnose a thyroid disorder in a person with symptoms; screen healthy adults for thyroid disorders as recommended by the American Thyroid Association; screen newborns for an underactive thyroid; monitor thyroid replacement therapy in people with hypothyroidism ; and diagnose and monitor female infertility problems.

    For more information contact Robin Ryckman, Supervisor at (605) 845-8196.