A blood test involves taking a sample of your blood and sending it to a lab for analysis. Blood tests are necessary in the emergency room to quickly gain information that can help diagnose and manage medical emergencies.
Experts at Dignity Health provide blood tests in the Greater Sacramento area as part of our emergency services. Blood tests given as emergency care are at the request of your clinical team only. For trusted 24/7 emergency care, call 911 or use our online waiting service, InQuicker™, to select an estimated arrival time at your nearest Dignity Health ER.
What to Expect from an Emergency Blood Test in the Sacramento Region
In the emergency room, one of our doctors, nurses, or technicians will draw your blood to collect the sample. This may require several tubes (or vials) of blood, depending on the test. Once the sample goes to the lab, it takes about an hour to get the results. The doctor will discuss the results and their meaning with you.
There are only minor risks from blood tests. This includes discomfort from the needle and bruising at the site.
The provider who draws your blood will apply pressure to the site to stop the bleeding. You will have a small bandage with a cotton ball to absorb any remaining blood. You can usually remove the bandage within a few hours.
Why Blood Tests are Performed
Emergency blood tests fall under the following general categories:
- Drug testing show doctors the amount of a drug in the blood. These tests may be necessary to identify drug toxicity or overdose due to digoxin (slows heart rate to treat atrial fibrillation), acetaminophen (treats pain and reduces fever), lithium (treats depression), ethanol (alcohol), theophylline (treats respiratory diseases, COPD), and phenytoin (controls seizures).
- Microbiology tests tell doctors if there are fungi, bacteria, or parasites in the blood. Examples include cultures to grow the organism and sensitivity tests to find out which drugs will work to fight the infection.
- Clinical chemistry tests give doctors information about substances in the blood that may be a sign of disease or organ dysfunction. Examples of clinical chemistry blood tests include hormone, electrolyte, and enzyme levels. Other tests can determine your body’s immune activity and if you are having a heart attack or if you are in heart failure.
- Blood bank tests allow doctors to determine the type of blood that will be compatible for transfusion. Examples include blood typing and cross-matching tests for antibodies.
- Hematology tests look at the amount of blood cells and plasma parts in the sample and how they work. Examples include a CBC (complete blood count) and tests of blood clotting ability.
Dignity Health offers advanced emergency blood tests in Sacramento, CA and surrounding areas.