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Best practice in primary care pathology: review 7
  1. W S A Smellie1,
  2. J Forth2,
  3. S R S Smart3,
  4. M J Galloway4,
  5. W Irving5,
  6. D Bareford6,
  7. P O Collinson7,
  8. K G Kerr8,
  9. G Summerfield9,
  10. P J Carey10,
  11. Rubin Minhas11
  1. 1Department of Chemical Pathology, Bishop Auckland General Hospital, Cockton Hill Road, Bishop Auckland, County Durham, UK
  2. 2Sowerby Centre for Health Informatics, Bede House, All Saints Business Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
  3. 3PRODIGY Sowerby Centre for Health Informatics at Newcastle, Bede House, All Saints Business Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
  4. 4Department of Haematology, City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, Sunderland Royal Hospital, Kayll Road, Sunderland, UK
  5. 5Department of Microbiology, School of Molecular Medical Sciences, University Hospital, Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham, UK
  6. 6Department of Haematology, Russells Hall Hospital, Dudley, West Midlands, UK
  7. 7Department of Chemical Pathology, Jenner Wing, St George’s Hospital, London, UK
  8. 8Department of Microbiology, Harrogate District Hospital, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK
  9. 9Department of Haematology, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Gateshead, UK
  10. 10Department of Haematology, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
  11. 11Medway PCT Unit 2, Ambley Green, Bailey Drive, Gillingham Business Park, Kent, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr 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 seventh best-practice review examines four series of common primary care questions in laboratory medicine: (1) blood count abnormalities 2; (2) cardiac troponins; (3) high-density lipoprotein cholesterol; and (4) viral diseases 2. The review is presented in a question–answer format, with authorship attributed for each question series. The recommendations are 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. The recommendations 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.

  • ACS, acute coronary syndrome
  • CHD, coronary heart disease
  • CLL, chronic lymphocytic leukaemia
  • CMV, cytomegalovirus
  • EBV, Epstein–Barr virus
  • FBC, full blood count
  • GMS, General Medical Services
  • HDL-C, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol
  • LDL-C, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol

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  • * These organisations contributed direct funding to support the project start-up.

  • Published Online First 17 October 2006

  • This work has been supported (in alphabetical order) by the Association of Clinical Biochemists*, Association of Clinical Pathologists*, Association of Medical Microbiologists, British Society for Haematology, Royal College of General Practitioners, Royal College of Pathologists* and the Sowerby Centre for Health Informatics in Newcastle, representatives of whom have contributed to the reviewing process. The opinions stated are, however, those of the authors.