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Best practice in primary care pathology: review 3
  1. W S A Smellie1,
  2. J Forth2,
  3. D Bareford3,
  4. P Twomey4,
  5. M J Galloway5,
  6. E C M Logan6,
  7. S R S Smart7,
  8. T M Reynolds8,
  9. C Waine9
  1. 1Department of Chemical Pathology, Bishop Auckland General Hospital, Bishop Auckland, County Durham, UK
  2. 2Sowerby Centre for Health Informatics, Bede House, All Saints Business Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
  3. 3Department of Haematology, City Hospital, Birmingham, West Midlands, UK
  4. 4Department of Chemical Pathology, Ipswich Hospital, Heath Road, Ipswich, UK
  5. 5Department of Haematology, E Floor Haematology Office, Sunderland Royal Hospital, Sunderland, UK
  6. 6Department of Haematology, Kings Mill Centre, Sutton in Ashfield, Nottingham, UK
  7. 7PRODIGY, Sowerby Centre for Health Informatics at Newcastle, Bede House, All Saints Business Centre
  8. 8Department of Clinical Chemistry, Queens Hospital, Burton on Trent, Staffordshire, UK
  9. 9Department of Primary Care, University of Sunderland, St Georges Way, Sunderland
  1. Correspondence to:
 W S A Smellie
 Department of Chemical Pathology, Bishop Auckland General Hospital, Cockton Hill Road, Bishop Auckland, County Durham DL14 6AD, UK; info{at}


This best practice review examines four series of common primary care questions in laboratory medicine: (i) “minor” blood platelet count and haemoglobin abnormalities; (ii) diagnosis and monitoring of anaemia caused by iron deficiency; (iii) secondary hyperlipidaemia and hypertriglyceridaemia; and (iv) glycated haemoglobin and microalbumin use in diabetes. The review is presented in question–answer format, referenced for each question series. The recommendations represent a précis 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 of the recommendations are based on consensus rather than evidence. They will be updated periodically to take account of new information.

  • ADA, American Diabetes Association
  • CVD, cardiovascular disease
  • DCCT, Diabetes Control and Complications Trial
  • GMS, General Medical Services
  • HbA1c, glycated haemoglobin
  • LDL, low-density lipoprotein
  • MCV, mean cell volume
  • NICE, National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence

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  • Competing interests: None declared.

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