Laboratory Services


Litzenberg Hospital Laboratory is staffed by four Medical Technologists: Eugenia Kennedy, BA.MT (ASCP), Betty Wemhoff, BS.MT (ASCP) Brenda Fee, MT (ASCP) and Michelle McClanahan, MT (ASCP).  Our lab hours are 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 7 days a week. (There is a technologist available for emergencies at all times).

Our lab is well equipped to perform all laboratory analysis on site that is essential to a Critical Access Hospital.

Hematology: We have a Sysmex x-s 1000 that performs a complete blood count RBC (Red Blood Count), WBC (White Blood Count), Hemoglobin, Hematocrit, Platelet Count and a 5-part automated differential. The technologist can also do a manual differential when appropriate.

Blood Gas Analysis: Is performed by Diametrics Irma analyzer. This instrument uses a cartridge system to determine pH, oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in the blood. This is especially important to patients suffering from respiratory distress or heart attack.

Coagulation: We use a Beckman Coulter ACL 100 to measure clotting time. We do protimes (PT/INR) and activated partial thromboplastin time (PTT). Both tests are used to measure the patient's ability to form blood clots. Protimes are used especially to check coumadin therapy and PTT's are used to check heparin therapy. We also can do a test called a Bleeding Time which is mainly used to check platelet function.

Blood Bank: Litzenberg Hospital contracts with the American Red Cross to keep a stock of 8 units of packed red blood cells on hand. We stock 2 O neg, 2 A neg, 2 O pos and 2 A pos. In emergency situations we are able to transport blood from the ARC depot at St. Francis Medical Center, or even by Highway Patrol from Omaha. We do blood typing, antibody screen and crossmatching using the Ortho Gel System.

Chemistry: We recently acquired the Vitros 350 by Johnson & Johnson. We are very pleased to have the Vitros available because we can now do the most requested chemistry profiles on site, facilitating timely diagnosis. With the Vitros, we have added in-house magnesium and phosphorus testing. This is important testing done for cancer and kidney patients. We use the Triage system to check for enzymes which when present indicate heart damage.

Serology: We are able to test for influenza A or B, mononucleosis and pregnancy.

Urinalysis: We examine urine specimens for indications of infection or metabolic disorders.

Microbiology: We perform same day, in-house testing for clostridium difficile, an important pathogen that causes diahrrea.

Following is a brief summary of the tests seen on blood test results.
HEMOGRAM RESULTS: White Blood Cell Count - (WBC)- measures the number of white blood cells in the blood. This count may be elevated in infection and leukemia and low in bone marrow damage due to chemicals, drugs, etc.
Red Blood Cell Count, Hemoglobin & Hematocrit: (RBC, Hbg & Hct) - These measure the amount of hemoglobin or red cells in the blood. Low values indicate anemia, which may have many causes and should be evaluated. High values are seen in a few diseases and should be evaluated. High values are also seen in smokers and in patients with breathing problems.
Mean Corpuscular Volume: (MCV) - is a measure of the size of the red blood cells. Small cells are seen in iron deficiency and some hereditary defects, both usually associated with anemia. Large cells are seen in rapid replacement of red cells by bone marrow and in anemia due to vitamin deficiencies.
Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin: (MCH) - is a measure of the amount of hemoglobin in each cell and abnormalities almost always reflect other abnormal results.
Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin Concentration: (MCHC) - measures the concentration of hemoglobin in the red blood cells. It is low in iron deficiency and some other anemias. It can only be high if the red blood cells are abnormally shaped. Abnormalities will almost always be associated with other abnormal results.
Platelets: (Plt) - Small, sticky circulating cells which play an essential role in clot formation.
BLOOD CHEMISTRIES: Alanine Aminotransferase: (ALT) - is an enzyme which functions as food for the body and especially the liver.
Aspartate Aminotransferase: (AST) - This test, if elevated, may indicate possible liver disease, muscle bruising, possible recent vigorous exercise or alcoholism.
Alkaline Phosphatase: (ALK) - Elevations in this value are indicative of possible liver or bone disorders. Values are always elevated in adolescence when bones are still actively growing.
Total Bilirubin: (TBILI) - This is a pigment from the breakdown of red blood cells which is broken down and excreted by the liver. It may be elevated with increased red blood cell breakdown or liver damage.
Glucose: (Glu) - This is a test for diabetes. If elevated on a fasting specimen, it should be rechecked and discussed with your physician. If not fasting, and over 200, this may also be abnormal. If the value is 130-200 and not fasting, this may be normal, but should be checked with a physician.
Calcium: (Ca) - Both elevated and decreased levels of calcium are associated with thyroid problems or renal (kidney) disease.
BUN, Creatinine & BUN Creatinine Ratio: (BUN, CRE & BUN-CRE) - Waste products are primarily excreted by the kidneys. These tests detect the presence of kidney disease but are influenced by a number of other factors. For instance, BUN may be elevated in dehydration and in people on a high protein diet or who have exercised heavily.
Sodium, Potassium, Chloride, Carbon Dioxide: (Na, K, Cl, CO2) - These are blood electrolytes. Abnormalities may result from a variety of diseases.
Anion GAP: (ANGAP) - Is a calculated value (Na + K)-(Cl + CO2_LC). An increase in the Anion Gap often suggests diabetic ketoacidosis, drug poisoning or renal failure and usually warrants further investigation.
Total Protein, Albumin, Globulin and AG ratio: (TP, ALB, GLOB AG) - These are a measure of the amount and type of protein in the blood. They are a general index of overall health and nutrition. The globulin fraction contains antibodies.
Amylase:  An enzyme that speeds up the breakdown of starch.  Found in saliva and pancreatic juice.  Increased levels of amylase can be due to pancreatitis.
Lipase:  An enzyme produced by the organs of the digestive system to speed up the breakdown of fat.
Mg:  A mineral needed for the central nervous, muscular and cardiovascular systems.
PO4:  A chemical element essential for the metabolism of protein, calcium and glucose. LIPID PANEL: Cholesterol: (CHOL) - Although a blood fat, this is a structural part of cells that aids in hormone production and is essential to brain and nerve development. It is manufactured by the body as well as being found in animal products. It is associated with increased probability of heart disease.
HDL-Cholesterol: (HDL-CL) - High-density lipoproteins help remove cholesterol from the body, preventing build-up of cholesterol on vessel walls. This is often called "good cholesterol." Quitting smoking, losing weight and exercising raises your HDL.
Triglycerides: (TRIG) - A blood fat thought to be associated with an increased probability of heart disease. This test is very sensitive and may be elevated if you have not fasted for 12 hours.
Low Density Lipoprotein/Cholesterol Ratio: This is a calculated value - CHOL-HDL-CL-(TRIG/5). This is a method to combine Total Cholesterol, "Good Cholesterol" and Triglycerides into one value to assess cardiac risk.

If you have any questions about our laboratory services, please call 308-946-3015, Ext. 236.



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