STAT Laboratory Tests

Understanding Urgent STAT Laboratory Tests: Key Diagnostic Tools for Critical Medical Care

by | Jun 27, 2024

What is a STAT Test?

STAT tests are laboratory tests that are performed immediately due to their urgent nature. The term “STAT” is derived from the Latin word “statim,” meaning “immediately.” These tests are prioritized to provide rapid results to assist in critical medical decisions and are performed by healthcare and medical testing laboratories.

List of STAT Laboratory Tests:

  1. Complete Blood Count (CBC):
    • Measures various components of the blood, including red blood cells, white blood cells, hemoglobin, hematocrit, and platelets. It helps diagnose conditions like infections, anemia, and other hematologic disorders, and provides a comprehensive overview of a patient’s overall health status.
  2. Blood Glucose:
    • Measures the level of glucose in the blood, which is crucial for diagnosing and managing diabetes. This test is also vital for monitoring blood sugar levels in critically ill patients, as well as those experiencing symptoms of hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia.
  3. Electrolyte Panel:
    • Tests the levels of essential electrolytes, including sodium, potassium, chloride, and bicarbonate. It helps assess kidney function, hydration status, and the impact of medications. Imbalances in electrolytes can lead to severe complications such as cardiac arrhythmias and neurological disturbances.
  4. Troponin:
    • Measures the levels of troponin proteins in the blood. Elevated troponin levels indicate heart muscle damage and are commonly used to diagnose acute myocardial infarction (heart attack). This test is critical for the rapid assessment of patients presenting with chest pain and other cardiac symptoms.
  5. Prothrombin Time (PT) / International Normalized Ratio (INR):
    • Assesses blood clotting ability, which is vital for patients on anticoagulant therapy and for diagnosing bleeding disorders. Monitoring PT/INR helps ensure that blood-thinning medications are working effectively without causing excessive bleeding.
  6. Activated Partial Thromboplastin Time (aPTT):
    • Evaluates the intrinsic pathway of the coagulation cascade. It helps diagnose clotting disorders and monitor heparin therapy. Abnormal aPTT results can indicate issues with clotting factors, which require immediate attention to prevent bleeding or thrombotic events.
  7. Arterial Blood Gas (ABG):
    • Measures the levels of oxygen, carbon dioxide, and pH in arterial blood. This test is essential for assessing respiratory function and acid-base balance in critically ill patients, helping to diagnose conditions like respiratory failure, metabolic imbalances, and the effectiveness of oxygen therapy.
  8. Lactate:
    • Measures the level of lactate in the blood. Elevated levels indicate tissue hypoxia and are used to assess the severity of sepsis, shock, and other critical conditions. High lactate levels can guide the management and treatment of patients in emergency and intensive care settings.
  9. Creatinine:
    • Evaluates kidney function by measuring the level of creatinine in the blood. It helps diagnose and monitor renal disorders, providing critical information about the kidneys’ ability to filter waste products from the blood.
  10. D-dimer:
    • Measures the presence of fibrin degradation products in the blood. Elevated levels can indicate the presence of thrombotic disorders such as deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism. This test is crucial for quickly identifying patients at risk of life-threatening blood clots.
  11. B-type Natriuretic Peptide (BNP):
    • Measures the level of BNP in the blood. It helps diagnose and evaluate the severity of heart failure, providing valuable information for the management of patients with symptoms such as shortness of breath, fatigue, and fluid retention.
  12. Calcium:
    • Measures the level of calcium in the blood. It is crucial for diagnosing conditions related to the parathyroid gland, bones, kidneys, and certain cancers. Abnormal calcium levels can lead to serious issues such as cardiac arrhythmias, muscle spasms, and neurological symptoms.
  13. Magnesium:
    • Evaluates the level of magnesium in the blood. It is important for diagnosing and monitoring magnesium deficiency or excess, which can affect muscle and nerve function. Proper magnesium levels are essential for maintaining normal cardiac and neuromuscular activity.
  14. Ammonia:
    • Measures the level of ammonia in the blood. Elevated levels can indicate liver dysfunction and are used to diagnose hepatic encephalopathy. High ammonia levels can lead to confusion, altered mental status, and coma, requiring immediate intervention.
  15. Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c):
    • Reflects average blood glucose levels over the past three months. It is used for diagnosing and monitoring diabetes management. This test provides a long-term view of blood sugar control, helping to guide treatment plans and prevent complications in diabetic patients.

These STAT tests are essential for providing rapid and accurate information to healthcare providers, enabling timely diagnosis and treatment of critical conditions.


  • Trevor Henderson BSc (HK), MSc, PhD (c), is the Creative Services Director for the Laboratory Products Group at LabX Media Group. He has more than three decades of experience in the fields of scientific and technical writing, editing, and creative content creation. With academic training in the areas of human biology, physical anthropology, and community health, he has a broad skill set of both laboratory and analytical skills. Since 2013, he has been working with LabX Media Group developing content solutions that engage and inform scientists and laboratorians.

    View all posts Director, Creative Services - LabX Media Group

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