Brisbane Urology Clinic

Pathology

Following your first or subsequent visit to the urologist, you may be asked for a blood or urine test, below are a few common tests prescribed the urologist.

Some of the more common blood tests are…

FBC (Full Blood Count) The haemoglobin level is checked and various types of blood cells are observed in details under the microscope. People on some medications require regular FBE’s.

UEC’s (Urea Electrolytes and Creatinine): This test is a measure of kidney function. You may observe elevated serum urea or creatinine levels with dehydration or impaired kidney functions. The electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, chloride and bicarbonate are various salts in the bloodstream. The potassium level is of a particular importance in people on diuretics or fluid tablets. Oral potassium supplements may be required as potassium levels frequently fall in these patients

LFTs (Liver function tests): The levels of several liver enzymes rise markedly when the liver is damaged by infections like hepatitis, or by toxins like alcohol and certain drugs. Likewise, in a jaundiced patient where bile secretion from the liver is blocked, an elevated bilirubin level is observed. We also measure the protein and albumin levels; with chronic illnesses the albumin tends to gradually fall to very low levels.

Cholesterol, triglyceride and other blood lipid levels: There is now no doubt at all that a high blood cholesterol level is an important risk factor for coronary artery disease. HDL-cholesterol seems to be protective and higher levels of this lipid is always beneficial. LDL-cholesterol appears a major factor in the development of coronary artery disease and so low levels of this lipid should be maintained. Various ratios of HDL, LDL and total cholesterol are used which may be more accurate predictors of coronary artery disease. Recent research suggests that an elevated triglyceride level is significant and has to be taken into account.

Blood tests to check the levels of certain hormones might be prescribed to determine the cause of the following problems:

  • Impotence
  • Recurrent urinary stones
  • Uro-gynaecological cases

PSA

PSA stands for prostate specific antigen . It is a substance produced almost exclusively in the prostate and plays a role in fertility. The vast majority is actually released into the ejaculate but tiny amounts are released into the blood stream and can be detected by a simple blood test.

PSA is increased by cellular abnormalities within the prostate and abnormally high levels of PSA can be an indication of disease of the prostate.

As men get older the prostate gland grows and so the PSA is likely to rise. A high PSA may indicate some type of prostate disease. Common reasons for a high PSA level in the blood stream may include prostate cancer, large prostates, and age related inflammation of the prostate or infection of the prostate. Obviously the first concern is to exclude prostate cancer.

PSA is a useful tool for diagnosing and monitoring prostate diseases, but further tests are required to confirm which condition is present.

Urinanalysis

A urinalysis is an analysis of the urine. A doctor does a series of physical, microscopic, and chemical tests on a sample of urine. The tests can screen for kidney disease and infections of the urinary tract. It can also help diagnose diseases that produce abnormal breakdown products called metabolites that are passed from the body in the urine.

Urine culture

Urine culture help identify organisms that cause infection that may be present in urine.

The culture may be ordered

  • when symptoms indicate the possibility of a urinary tract infection, such as pain and burning when urinating and frequent urge to urinate
  • Patients who have a catheter inserted for an extended period of time, even if they do not show overt symptoms of an infection, since there is a risk of bacteria being introduced via the catheter
  • Pregnant women without any symptoms may be screened for bacteria in their urine, which could harm the baby

If you have Urinary Tract Infection (UTI), antibiotic susceptibility testing is usually done to determine the resistance of bacteria (germs).

A clean catch or mid-stream sample of urine should be used for urinanalysis.