How long does it take to receive a blood test results? Waiting time explained

The previous article discussed the best time to take a test. Remember that we have two main reasons to ask for the time belongs to tests of the medical lab:

1 – The best time to take the test: Lab doctor asks the patient about special time to take the blood sample 

2- The real time to receive the test results: The Patient asks the lab personnel for the waiting time to receive his/her results.
Read the entire explanation about the best time to do a test.

Second part of discussion is about the role of time in medical analysis, usually mentioned as the waiting time to receive Lab test results.
The patient asks the lab personnel: about the time of receipt a written report of the findings detected in his blood, examples of such:

These questions are frequent when the lab delays the time to receive your results for any reason:
Is it serious and they shall not telling me directly?
What the test gives?!
Should I be worried they aren’t telling me something?
What reason would they have to lie?

How to determine the waiting time before receiving your blood work report?
I will take some general rules which make the prediction of real waiting time to hand over the results.
1- Know the time of the opening and closing laboratory or the office of the Doctor:
Usually Open appointments are: 3 – 6 hours for dr’s office: usually 9:00 AM – 12:00 AM and 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM.
12 – 16 hours for most independent labs in USA and over the globe: Usually open all the day except the time from 12:00 AM: 8:00 AM will be closed.
However the laboratories exist in Hospitals may be open 24/7.
Anyway, you must ask for the open/close time for your lab.
2- Know the Working days for independent Laboratories:
Also called the business days, most labs works all the week even in the weekend, work days are the whole days of the week except Sunday and sometimes Saturday is not a working day.
Working days in most areas: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.

3- The Location of the Lab or Hospital:

Where is the Lab? How to arrive to the nearest healthcare with medical lab inside it?, is the lab too far away of you? 
All the question need answers contain details about the time required to reach the medical lab.
Most Developed countries have advanced techniques and deliver the results within minutes to 1 day, but some remote parts are too poor to have such fast machines.

Examples of certified US labs:
@Georgia_On-Site_Lab_Testing : at 125 W. Taylor Street , Atlanta GA 30223, (770)412-0077
Drug Testing Georgia. Affordable labs, DNA Testing and #1 in drug testing for the State of Georgia as well as drug and alcohol testing services

@Main_Stop_Testing_Svcs: at 12401 S Post Oak St Ste 235 Where are located inside of the Medical Power Ctr Next to Chase Bank, Houston TX 77045., (713)551-8743
Drug & Alcohol Testing for DOT and NON DOT – Employment -Personal-Court Order-Federal, Urine, Hair or Saliva Testing DNA Testing -Paternity Testing

@The_Carlson_CO_LLC: at 6660 Delmonico Dr. Ste. D-425 , Colorado Springs CO 80919, (866)889-3410.
Certified lab testing services related to the sciences of Toxicology, DNA, Poison Testing, and Hair Testing. By mail test sample submission for private clients worldwide

@Advanced_Screening_Solutions, LLC: at Jackson MS 39232, (601) 983-2776.
Employment Screening, Drug Testing, Background Checks, DOT-mandated Drug & Alcohol Testing, School Drug Testing, DNA/Paternity Testing, DER training.

@ARCpoint_Labs: at 709 E. Michigan St., Orlando FL 32806
Drug, Alcohol and DNA Testing For Personal, Business, and Judicial Use. It’s Accurate, Reliable, and Confidential.

@Labs_To_Go: at 5541 Parliament Drive #203, Virginia Beach VA 23462
Provide mobile and direct public access to affordable Lab Tests, Paternity, STD, and Drug Screening. No doctor’s order or health insurance.

4- Decide how to receive results?

Many methods found to facilitate receiving the final blood test results report; The Lab can email or fax the report to the doctor directly, before your visit, or send to your inbox.

5- What is the required time to take a blood sample?
60 second is the only time needed to draw a sample and record your information.
1 minute is required to pay the price.
1 – 5 minutes may be waiting your number to be shown on the reception screen.

6- Which test panel you will request to be processed?
All checkup list of tests is> here.
Autoimmune and infectious diseases investigation:
Chlamydia, syphilis, zoster virus “HSV, HZV”, VDRL, STD and Psoriasis test processed in the same day but it may be delayed up to 1 day due to the work rate.
STD tests take about 3 – 6 weeks to appear in the blood specimen and processed in the same day or may at once with rapid kits.
Torch monitoring tests: IgM and IgG Antibodies for Toxoplasmosis, Rubella, CMV, and herpes simplex virus are require long time to be processed and excess time to be received, usually 2 – 3 business days.

Tumor Markers: Ca 15.3, CA 19.9, and CA 125 are test not taken for a lot to any lab, so that they may be delayed for up to 3 days; even for longer time depend on how big the lab is?

Microbiological tests and Histo-pathological examination time:
The culture and sensitivity test need 1 day to culture and another 24 hour to show sensitivity reaction to antibiotics, so that C/S test waiting time is up to 3 days.
Complete Examination of body fluids specimens such as Urine, Stool, and Semen analysis are taken within 5 min., processed for about 10 – 30 min., to be received after 30 – 60 sec..

Waiting time to receive Biopsy results report for example:

Here is a short list of types of biopsy:
Liver biopsy is used to know the progression of disease by the degree of fibrosis or, ultimately, cirrhosis.
In Wilson’s disease, the biopsy is used to determine the quantitative copper level.
Prostate biopsy include transrectal biopsy and transurethral biopsy
Nervous system biopsy: Forms include brain biopsy, nerve biopsy, and meningeal biopsy
Urogenital system: Forms include renal biopsy, endometrial biopsy and cervical conization

Other sites include breast biopsy, lymph node biopsy, muscle biopsy, and skin biopsy, lumpectomy, breast mass, Brain biopsy, mastectomy specimen, 

The time needed to process biopsy sample and finish reportage to be available to receiving to the patient depends on how severe the inflammation is?, and on each type of biopsy, for example; the chromosomal investigation for incomplete fetus after abortion my take 8 – 15 days to be finished, Other abdominal biopsy can take 5 – 7, all is method dependent, hardness of the tissue being examined as well as the work rate come to lab daily.

7- Know the testing method the lab will utilize to process your blood sample:
A- Rapid screening tests:
Must be available within 5 – 15 minutes after sampling and Machine dependent methods need prolonged waiting time 1 – 6 days:
Finger Prick Method for CBC, Bleeding time and clotting time (BT and CT) take about 30 sec. to be carried but the results may stay longer to be available, due to the other factors I mentioned.
Rapid monitoring test kits for: AIDS rapid hiv test results 10, HCV, HBV, HAV, TB, Pregnancy rapids home test; all have taken and processed in about 10 minutes, however a person have to wait 30 – 60 minutes to receive results.
All CMP panel tests take up to 1 hour for complete panel to be processed
Quantitative tests for Hormones as growth hormone, thyroid function and PCR: usually received after 1 – 2 days.

B- Automatic blood processing machines:
The big laboratories are equipped with high performance testing machines with automatic sample handling and processing which save the time needed to finish result as well as the high specificity presented by those machines which give most accurate results, any test take from 15 min and up to 1 hour to be finished and ready to send to patient’s hands.

Overall time to finish blood test results:
When my results will be available?, when can I come to lab to receive the report?, what is the actual time to finish my test results?, as well as the common questionnaire about: the real time testing for a blood level of any chemical, the time taken to process results and when it would be available depends on the specificity and type of testing method as I am going to explain.
Why my results delayed for long time?
Some tests need long time to process results; however some situations may be expected:
If the result was suspected to be false negative or false positive, Lab will ask the patient to take another sample to repeat the test to reassure him.
There are troubles in Lab’s tools and machines or even any reason related to lab’s work.
The patient lies about information requested by the lab technician.
The test is rare or requires more advanced lab or more skilled personnel to carry the test.
The cost of the test is also an important factor to delay the testing time and might be a reason to not take the needed test, How to choose the most cheapest price to do your blood work?
The next article will exclusively explain the test costs and suitable methods with cheapest prices… do not forget to subscribe to be the first to know when I publish my new exclusive explanation.

Dr.Megan Ralf

A Medical laboratory Scientist who devoted his life to medical and laboratory sciences, writes his everyday expertise dealing with various pathological conditions through laboratory diagnosis of different body fluids, also participating in many workshops for first aids, infection control, and urgent care. Also Dr Megan Ralf coaching many medical teams.

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