Your Blood Tests: How Long Results take to Arrive?

Unbelievable breakthroughs in medical science have introduced a wide range of blood tests to diagnose various problems. Some blood test results are available immediately while others take days or even weeks.

Doctors at a reliable clinic for cheap blood tests in London explain that it depends on various factors including the test you take. 

How the procedure works

The procedure of drawing blood sample from your body is called venipuncture. A healthcare professional, who draws blood sample from your vein, is a phlebotomist.

  • Before drawing blood sample, a phlebotomist first washes his hands well using soap or hand wash and water. Sanitisers may also be used instead.
  • Then he pulls on medical gloves.
  • In the next step, he places a tourniquet (the stretchy rubber band you must have seen) around a location on your body (usually the upper arms)
  • He identifies an area of a vein and wipes the area with medicated alcohol.
  • A hollow medicated needle is inserted into the vein at the sanitized location.
  • Blood comes out and fills up the collection syringe.

Once the blood sample gets collected, he removes the tourniquet and holds the venipuncture site applying gentle pressure. The overall process hardly takes more than 5 minutes provided you have a trained and experienced phlebotomist. 

Few factors that stretch the process unnecessarily lengthy include the following:

  • The size of your veins
  • Inexperience of the healthcare professional and
  • Dehydration

Common blood tests and time required for their results

  • CBC or Complete Blood Count: The test measures 10 cell types in the red blood cells (RBCs), white blood cells (WBCs) and platelets. Usually your doctor gets access to your CBC test report within 24 hours.
  • Basic metabolic panel test: This test is conducted to measure the level of common electrolytes in the blood along with few other biochemical substances like calcium, glucose, carbon dioxide, sodium, chloride, potassium, creatinine, blood urea nitrogen and chloride. You may have to fast for a certain time period before having the blood sample drawn from your vein for these tests. These test results are also sent to your doctor within 24 hours.
  • Complete metabolic panel test: In addition to the ones mentioned above, this test also measures your albumin, total protein levels along with four liver functions – namely ALT, ALP, AST and Bilirubin. A doctor may recommend more comprehensive metabolic panel test if he has to get greater insight about your kidney or liver function. The test results usually come within 1 to 3 days.
  • Lipid panel test: The test is done to measure the cholesterol level in your body. Both HDL or high-density lipoprotein and LDL or low-density lipoprotein are included in it. Lab people send the result to your doctor within 24 hours.

According to the normal procedure a lab personnel directly calls to convey the test results to your doctor’s office. The doctor’s office will inform you about the test results only after receiving them from the concerned lab.

Certain labs directly inform the patients about the test results. This is mostly done through secure online portals.

There are numerous instances of delayed blood test result. Results of blood tests are delayed because of the following factors:

  • Insufficient sample collection
  • The sample gets contaminated somehow
  • The blood cells were accidentally destroyed

Blood tests during pregnancy

Also known as pregnancy blood tests, they can either be qualitative or quantitative. Qualitative blood test reports only a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ for your pregnancy. Quantitative blood test – on the other hand – measures the level of hCG or human chorionic gonadotropin hormone in your body. It is to be noted that your body automatically synthesises this hormone when you’re pregnant.

The test results appear anywhere between a few hours and few days.

Thyroid test

Thyroid panel test is recommended to know the level of hormones produced by the thyroid gland like the TSH or thyroid-stimulating hormone. If doctor suspects you suffer from medical conditions resulting from the thyroid gland – like hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism – he recommends the T7 thyroid test, which includes T3 uptake, free-T4 index and thyroxin (T4).  The results reach your doctor within one or two days.

Blood tests for cancer

Several blood tests are there to detect cancer. Doctors obviously recommend blood tests depending on the type of cancer they suspect.

Results for this range of tests usually take a few days to a week to arrive.

STI blood tests

Rapid test is available to detect HIV. This test is performed both at clinics and community health centres. You can get the test reports within 10 to 20 minutes flat. Other sexually transmitted infections are also detected through blood tests. These include Syphilis, Herpes and Hepatitis. The results may take anywhere between a week and two to arrive.

Swab tests and urine tests are preferred over blood test to detect certain STDs. These tests may take longer time to deliver results specially if cultures are required to be grown. Certain STIs are not detected in your blood samples immediately after being transmitted. Therefore, you may have to take follow-up tests after a certain time period in spite of getting a negative result before.

Tests for Anaemia

CBC test is recommended for anaemia detection. Certain other tests are also recommended in certain cases. These include the H and H test (also known as haemoglobin and haematocrit test). You get the results within 10 minutes and few hours.

Blood tests for in-patients and out-patients

Location is a vital factor to determine how fast your test results will arrive. If you go to a hospital your results may come quicker. This is because hospitals usually have on-site labs. But if your chosen testing centre lacks such facility and has to send your blood sample to another lab, results will take longer. Blood samples for speciality tests to diagnose rare medical conditions need to be sent to specific labs and that may take much longer time.  

Tips to get results faster

Doctors at a reliable clinic reputed for offering cheap private blood tests in London have some tips to share that can help getting your blood test results faster.

  • Have your blood sample drawn at a location that has an on-site lab.
  • Inquire if there’s the option of “quick testing” as like H and H for anaemia.
  • Ask if the lab people can share the result with you through an online portal.
  • Request them if they can allow you to wait till the result arrives.

Frequently recommended blood tests – like a CBC or metabolic panel – usually take short time to deliver results. Contrastingly, results of blood tests for rare conditions take long time to arrive.

Thanks to ever-evolving medical technology, wait-time between drawing your blood sample and the results to arrive is getting shorter. It is crucial that your doctor reviews reports carefully before passing along.

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