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Lab Reference Values

Hi all

Does anyone have a good go-to reference list/sheet for all the common investigation panels/lab tests with associated reference ranges and appropriate (i.e. Australian) units? Looking for a sheet to slip into a reference folder of critical info but can't find a nice one that is Oz based......and beyond electrolytes I can't seem to bloody memorise them - eep!

Thanks
 

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chinaski

Regular Member
You shouldn't have to memorise them. Normal values will vary slightly from lab-to-lab, too - so there's no golden numbers here.

As a learning exercise, it's better to simply eyeball a lot of results. You get a good feel for normal ranges simply by seeing them (eg Hb of 89 is low, 120 is going to be around normal).
 
You shouldn't have to memorise them. Normal values will vary slightly from lab-to-lab, too - so there's no golden numbers here.

As a learning exercise, it's better to simply eyeball a lot of results. You get a good feel for normal ranges simply by seeing them (eg Hb of 89 is low, 120 is going to be around normal).
You're so right. But my OCD wants a list, haha! But yes, I do tend to get a feel and then depending on where I am, I just look back at the reference list or do a quick google....but I like the idea of curating my own little cheat sheet (but am also being lazy about it!).
 

chinaski

Regular Member
I wouldn't rely so much on didactic lists in medicine. They can instil a false sense of security and can make you prone to dogmatic thinking.
 

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Cathay

Train Driver
Emeritus Staff
Bit late to the party but I thought I'd add that in a clinical setting the lab results are accompanied by the relevant reference ranges, and (at least in Christchurch) any values outside the reference range are highlighted red to draw attention to it.

I don't think I've ever thought "damn I wish I had a list of reference ranges in my bag" at any stage as a med student - and I don't think I've ever been expected to memorise reference ranges, either. Any time that (either for teaching or in an assessment) lab values are quoted without the reference range attached, it was either because the value was grossly abnormal (e.g. Hb of 75) and they wanted to see us eyeball it, or because we've been specifically taught something about that particular value (e.g. after being taught that HbA1c 41-49mmol/mol is considered "pre-diabetes", the end-of-run test might include a question like "Mr X has a HbA1c of 45mmol/mol, what is the diagnosis and how would you manage him?")
 

govpop

Regular Member
One thing that is probably worth knowing about reference ranges is that they represent 95% confidence intervals

ie being outside the reference range is not always “abnormal”. Similarly being abnormal is not always significant. This is why it’s better to learn through exposure rather than have a reference list
 

LMG!

Moderator
Most Helpful Member and Staff Member of the Year 2017-2018
Bonnie-StKilda: Firstly, just an FYI that I don't use this personally, and agree with Cathay that, during med school at least, we have been given all references ranges we need in exam questions, etc, so far.

But... Reference Ranges | Geeky Medics

Secondly, I can't vouch for the accuracy of the info contained in the above.
 

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