This fifth best practice review examines three series of common primary care questions in laboratory medicine: (1) minor liver function test abnormalities; (2) laboratory monitoring of patients receiving lithium; and (3) investigation of possible venous thromboembolism. The review is presented in question–answer format, referenced for each question series. The recommendations represent a precis of guidance found using a standardised literature search of national and international guidance notes, consensus statements, health policy documents and evidence-based medicine reviews, supplemented by Medline Embase searches to identify relevant primary research documents. They are not standards but form a guide to be set in the clinical context. Most are consensus-based rather than evidence-based. They will be updated periodically to take account of new information.
- ALP, alkaline phosphatase
- ALT, alanine aminotransferase
- AST, aspartate transaminase
- BNF, British National Formulary
- DVT, deep venous thrombosis
- GGT, γ-glutamyl transpeptidase
- GMS, General Medical Services
- NAFLD, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
- ULN, upper limit of normal
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Published Online First 19 May 2006
Competing interests: None declared.