Clinical Biochemistry is the study of the chemical and biochemical processes of the body in relation to disease.
This is a laboratory-based service which exists to help clinicians in the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and management of disease. Diseases such as diabetes, thyroid problems, kidney disease, heart attacks and cystic fibrosis can be diagnosed and monitored by the analysis of body fluids such as blood, urine, saliva and CSF.
The department uses a fully automated analyser to analyse the majority of routine samples. This analyser has a sophisticated sample tracking system which incorporates online decapping, aliquotting, sealing and storage of samples within the analysing process. This system allows a high throughput of samples with fast turnaround times. The department is also a specialist centre for mass spectrometry, analysing samples from around the world for immunosuppressants, steroid hormones, and markers of neuroendocrine tumours on six state-of-the-art mass spectrometers.
The Biochemistry department also actively promotes and supports Point-of-Care Testing (POCT), managing blood gas analysers, blood glucose, ketone, urinalysis, haemoglobin, HbA1c and INR testing meters throughout the Trust.
The majority of routine biochemistry results are returned within 24 hours, with a high percentage being turned around within four hours. Exceptions include the more specialised tests which may require batching, manual preparation or periods of incubation. Turnaround times are recorded for each of the tests in the test library, available in the handbook.
Tests not available within the department are referred to specialist accredited laboratories.
(Last reviewed June 2021)