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Historical perspectives in diagnostic clinical pathology: development of the pregnancy test
  1. David Haarburger1,
  2. Tahir S Pillay2
  1. 1Division of Chemical Pathology, University of Cape Town and NHLS, Groote Schuur Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa
  2. 2Department of Chemical Pathology, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
  1. Correspondence to Tahir S Pillay, DVC Office—Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Howard College Campus, Glenwood, Durban 4041, South Africa; t_s_p{at}


This is the first in a series of articles dealing with developments in the history of diagnostic pathology and laboratory medicine for the Journal of Clinical Pathology. The pregnancy test kits of today can give an accurate result within 2 min and are as easily available in the laboratory as they are for over-the-counter purchase. Such kits also find a use in the emergency room when dealing with the diagnosis of sudden abdominal pain in a woman of childbearing age. It is not immediately obvious that the simple urine dipstick tests of today reflect the cumulative knowledge of almost a century of reproductive biology, immunology and clinical chemistry.

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  • Funding This study was funded by the National Health Laboratory Service.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.