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Hospital Admissions (cont.)

Tests You May Have During Your Diagnostic Work-Up and Admission

The following are some of the more common tests that could be performed on you during your hospital admission:

  • Blood work: Most often is taken from a vein,occasionally taken from an artery in your wrist or thigh
  • Intravenous: Placing a catheter in a vein (usually in your arm) to start fluid replacement or administer drugs or blood products
  • X-rays: Provides a 2-dimensional picture of a body part; limited detail but good for fractures, certain types of abdominal processes, and for lung infections or fluid in the lungs
  • CT scan: A doughnut-like machine that takes a 360 degree continuous images of a body segment, such as your head, chest, or abdomen (It provides greater detail than regular X-rays.)
  • MRI: A process using magnetism to provide a detailed image of the internal portion of a body segment
    • The MRI uses strong electromagnets to change the hydrogen atoms in your body.
    • When the electromagnet turns off, the hydrogen atoms revert to their original status and give off a unique signal, depending on what other atoms they are next to.
    • A very powerful computer reconstructs this signal.
  • ECG: Used to measure the electrical activity of your heart as a sign of damaged heart muscle
  • Ultrasound: Bounces sound waves off internal body parts for a dynamic representation of that structure
  • Biopsy: Also called surgical or needle biopsy, a means to take a sample of an organ to determine disease status or diagnosis
  • Catheterization: Insertion of a tube or catheter into a vein or artery to do one of the following:
    • Obtain a biopsy
    • Inject contrast material into a blood vessel for imaging purposes (for instance, to enhance a CT scan or MRI)
    • Perform a procedure, such as a cardiac catheterization to repair blocked arteries

You may require any combination of these tests plus others so your doctor can make a diagnosis.

  • Test results: You should ask your doctor the results of all test performed while you are admitted, especially these:
    • Abnormal results and what they mean
    • How the results affect your diagnosis (what disease or condition you may have)
    • What they mean for your outcome, both short- and long-term

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