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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A medical test is a kind of medical procedure performed to detect, diagnose, or evaluate disease, disease processes, susceptibility, and determine a course of treatment.

X-ray of a hand. X-rays are a common medical test.


Types of tests



lung scintigraphy during lung cancer diagnostic

A diagnostic test is a procedure performed to confirm, or determine the presence of disease in an individual suspected of having the disease, usually following the report of symptoms, or based on the results of other medical tests.[1][2] Such tests include:


A screening is a medical test or series used to detect or predict the presence of disease in individuals at risk for disease within a defined group, such as a population, family, or workforce.[4] [5] Screenings may be performed to monitor disease prevalence, manage epidemiology, aid in prevention, or strictly for statistical purposes.[6]

Examples of screenings include measuring the level of TSH in the blood of a newborn infant as part of newborn screening for congenital hypothyroidism,[7] checking for Lung cancer in non-smoking individuals who are exposed to second-hand smoke in an unregulated working environment, and Pap smear screening for prevention or early detection of cervical cancer.


Some medical tests are used to evaluate the progress of, or response to medical treatment. They are also used to monitor the course (prognosis) of a disease.[8]

Examples of this may include analyzing the arterial blood gasses of an individual, after chest x-rays confirm the presence of a pneumothorax; or, performing a biopsy of a removed tumor to determine the degree of malignancy.


Some medical testing procedures have health risks, and even require general anesthesia, such as the mediastinoscopy.[9] Other tests, such as the blood test or pap smear have little to no direct risks.[10] Medical tests may also have indirect risks, such as the stress of testing, and riskier tests may be required as follow-up for a (potentially) false positive test result. Consult the physician prescribing any test for further information.

See also


  1. ^ a b Al-Gwaiz LA, Babay HH (2007). "The diagnostic value of absolute neutrophil count, band count and morphological changes of neutrophils in predicting bacterial infections". Med Princ Pract. 16 (5): 344–347. doi:10.1159/000104806. PMID 17709921.  
  2. ^
    Guide to Diagnostic Tests from Harvard Health
  3. ^
  4. ^ Ratcliffe JM, Halperin WE, Frazier TM, Sundin DS, Delaney L, Hornung RW (1986). "The prevalence of screening: a report from the National Institute of Occupational Safety and the Health National Occupational Hazard Survey". Journal of Occupational Medicine 28 (10): 906–912. doi:10.1097/00043764-198610000-00003. PMID 3021937.  
  5. ^
    US Dept. of Labor - Occupational Safety and Health Admin.
  6. ^ Murthy LI, Halperin WE (1995). "Medical Screening and Biological Monitoring: A guide to the literature for physicians". Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine 37 (2): 170–184. doi:10.1097/00043764-199502000-00016. PMID 7655958.  
  7. ^ Moltz KC, Postellon DC (1994). "Congenital hypothyroidism and mental development". Comprehensive Therapy 20 (6): 342–346. PMID 8062543.  
  8. ^ Pashapour N, Nikibahksh AA, Golmohammadlou S (2007). "Urinary tract infection in term neomates with prolonged jaundice". Urol J. 4 (2): 912–914. PMID 17701928.  
  9. ^
  10. ^


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