If you stay in a hospital overnight or longer, you may have many blood tests. Sometimes you need all the tests, especially if you are very sick. But sometimes you get more tests than you need. Here’s what you should know about blood tests in the hospital.
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When you’re in the hospital, you may have blood taken for 2 common tests.
These tests can help your doctor identify a problem and learn if a treatment is working.
If your test results stay the same after a day or two, you may not need them again. More tests won’t tell your doctor anything new, unless you’re in intensive care or your treatment changes.
There’s no harm in having fewer tests. One study showed that reducing common tests at the hospital did not affect patient health or safety.
Blood tests are very safe. But they can cause other problems if you have them every day.
You may need a blood test every day if:
If you’re scheduled to have surgery, your doctor may want you to have certain tests. These are usually done before the day of your surgery. Consider the tests below only if you have certain problems or need some kinds of surgery:
This report is for you to use when talking with your health professional.
It’s OK to ask questions
If you have questions about your symptoms or the medicines managing your symptoms, speak with your health professional.
You can also download this information as a pdf (462 KB).
© 2015 Consumers Union of United States, Inc, (101 Truman Ave, Yonkers, NY 10703-1057). Adapted from Consumer Reports (2015), Blood tests when you’re in the hospital, developed in co-operation with the Society of Hospital Medicine. Choosing Wisely does not assume any responsibility or liability arising from any error or omission or from the use of any information in these resources.
This article is part of our content on Choosing Wisely, a campaign encouraging a change in thinking by health professionals and consumers to avoid unnecessary medical intervention.