How to get ready for exams

How to prepare yourself for examinations?

Laboratory tests help to diagnose certain patient's conditions before the clinical symptoms of the disease develop. The tests also help to monitor the course of disease in dynamics and prognosis. The test results can be affected by different factors including patient's age, race, gender, pregnancy, menstruation cycle, nutrition, alcohol, smoking, physical activity, psychological stress, used medicines, individual circadian rhythm and many others. We encourage collaboration for proper assessment of your body condition! The most precise blood test results are obtained when blood sample is taken and brought to the laboratory in the morning following the  recommendations listed below.

How to prepare yourself for blood test

General principles applicable to the patients before giving blood sample are as follows:

  • DO NOT eat, consume alcohol, eat bananas, drink tea, coffee, caffeine, chocolate, tobacco 8-12 hours before blood sampling;
  • Do not fast for longer than 24 hours;
  • Avoid psychological stress;
  • avoiding physical load (do not take part in sport activities).

Special requirements are applied for the patients who require the special tests:

  • Minimal fasting time before blood sampling for the general blood count test is 3 hours;
  • For calcitonin level test – 12hours (overnight);
  • For C- reactive protein. Test–12 hours;
  • If blood iron levels are to be tested it is recommended to abstain from the use of iron preparations for 2 weeks;
  • Before glucose test it is recommended to fast for 12 hours (overnight), to avoid sweet and fat foods, alcohol and the use of medicines affecting blood glucose levels such as: corticosteroids, thyroxine, phenytoin and oral contraceptives;
  • A diet should be followed before glucose tolerance test: days before the test you should avoid eating sweet and fat food products, alcohol and medicines such as corticosteroids, thyroxine, phenytoin and oral contraceptives, before the test you should fast for 8-10 hours (overnight);
  • For liver enzyme test – fast for 12 hours;
  • For blood bilirubin level test observe the minimal fasting time – at least 4 hours;
  • For calcium level test – do not take calcium supplements for 8-12 hours before the test;
  • For magnesium level test – avoid taking antacid medicines and diuretics containing magnesium;
  • Before cholesterol and its fraction as well as triglyceride tests avoid eating fat foods for 8-12 hours;
  • 48 hours before the test avoid taking: vitamin C more than 250g per day (from all sources including foods, vitamins, supplements), red meat (beef, lamb), processed meat and liver, raw fruits and vegetables (especially melons, turnips, radish);
  • Before prostate specific antigen (PSA) test abstain from sexual activity for 48 hours;
  • Corrupted blood test results can be obtained after diagnostic procedures (radiological examinations, especially with contrast enhancement, veloergometry or functional lung tests). For this reason, such examinations should be done after blood sampling (different procedures can affect test results);
  • Medicines used can also affect test results, therefore you should read the package leaflet and discuss the potential influence of your medicines on test results with the treating physician;
  • When your blood results are ready, inform the physician about the medication you are currently taking.

How to prepare yourself for general urinalysis 

Adults must help small children in taking urine sample. Grown up children after explanation can take the urine sample by themselves. Children may find this procedure causing some inconveniences or discomfort as it is related to their privacy, thus you should be delicate.

  • The morning urine is the most suitable for testing. Before sample collection the external genitalia should be washed with clean water (without any soap and other detergents);
  • Urinalysis is not recommended during menstrual periods and 2-3 days afterwards or vaginal tampons should be used to avoid blood occurrence in the urine sample;
  • The middle portion of eh urine should be presented for testing: the first urine part should be urinated into the toilet bowl, the middle part (20-50 ml) into the container and the residual part again into the toilet bowl. Containers are available at the pharmacy;
  • The container should be closed tightly, marked with patient's given name and surname and delivered to the laboratory as soon as possible;
  • Urine samples from new-born babies and infants should be collected using the special bags (minimal amount for the test is10 ml). Collection bag should be kept attached for not longer than one hour, otherwise likelihood of sample contamination is increased significantly.

How to prepare yourself for the spermogram test 

  • Abstain from sexual contacts for 3-5 days;
  • Before sample collection dot smoke, do not consume strong alcohols, medicines (antibiotics, hormone preparations, narcotics, etc.), do not take hot bath or do not use sauna;
  • Sperm is collected by masturbation into a special sterile contained, which is available in any pharmacy. The genitalia and hands should be washed before masturbation. The whole sperm should be collected into the container, especially the first drops;
  • If the sperm is collected at home, it should be brought to the laboratory within one hour at least. IT should be transported in warm environment, preferably at body temperature but not exceeding 40*C.

How to prepare yourself for bacteriological examination of genital swab

  • You should not urinate for at least 2 – 3 hours;
  • Females should not use intravaginal products for 2 days (at least48 hours) before the sampling and abstain from vaginal washing for 1 day (at least 24 hours);
  • The 18-21 days of your menstrual cycle are the most suitable for the examination, however, in case of acute illness (sudden onset) the examination can be done at any day of the cycle, if there is no bleeding.

Swabs for testing can be taken by a physician gynaecologist, urologist, obstetricians or nurses.

Urine collection for bacteriological examination (culture) 

The best method to collect urine for the bacteriological examination is a suprapubic puncture and catheterisation of the urinary bladder, however this is possible only in a hospital. For the older children who are able to control urination, the “middle flow” urine is also acceptable. For the new-born babies and infants, the middle portion of the urine flow collected into the container is also fine.

  • It is preferable before urine sample collection to abstain from urination for 4-6 hours and not to use the antimicrobial preparations for 48 hours;
  • The morning urine is the most suitable for testing. Before sample collection the external genitalia should thoroughly washed with clean water (without any soap and other detergents);
  • The middle portion of eh urine should be collected into the container: the first urine part should be urinated into the toilet bowl, the middle part (20-30 ml) into the container and the residual part again into the toilet bowl. The container should be sterile, packed in a cellophane package and bought in a pharmacy;
  • Close the container tightly, keep cold and bring as soon as possible to the laboratory.

How to collect diurnal urine

Diurnal urine is collected when it is necessary to know the exact amount of tested substance excreted with urine during the fixed time period (usually in 24 hours). This procedure is not recommended during the menstrual period.

  • The best time to start urine collection is morning, as the procedure lasts 24 hours;
  • At the beginning the patient should urinate to empty the urinary bladder. This urine is not collected;
  • At the start of collection procedure, the date and exact time is written on the container and a preservative is transferred;
  • IMPORTANT! Direct urination into the container containing preservative is not allowed. Another container or pot should be allocated for urination. Each urine portion then should be carefully transferred into the urine collection container;
  • The procedure ends after 24 hours. The identified sample is brought to the laboratory;
  • If any urine portion was spilled or otherwise lost, the procedure should be restarted.

How to collect faeces

It is recommended not to use enemas, rectal suppositories and laxatives for at least 24 hours before the sample collection.

       Faeces collection from new-born babies and infants wearing nappy pants

  • If your baby has diarrhoea, a water proof material should be laid into the nappy pants to prevent content soaking the pants;
  • The faces are collected using a container spoon from several locations (about 2 g – a nut size, or 5 ml in case of liquid faeces) and are transferred into the container, which can be bought in a pharmacy;
  • The faeces should be collected from the side, where mucous, blood or other premises are visible.

       Faeces collection from the grown-up children

  • A pot or a toilet bowel should be covered with clear polyethylene film allowing the child to defecate undisturbed. Then a sample can be collected from the film. If a sample falls into a toilet bowel, it is not suitable for testing;
  • A bedpan can be used for sample collection. After defecation the faeces should be collected from several different locations, especially, if mucus, blood and other unusual discharge is present. About 2 g of solid or 5 ml of liquid faeces are required for the test;
  • The tightly closed container marked with patient's given name and surname should be brought to the laboratory as soon as possible;
  • IMPORTANT! For detection of protozoa vegetative forms, Clostridium difficile GDH and toxins, the faeces sample should be brought immediately. Faeces sample for other faeces tests should be brought with 1-2 hours after defecation t latest (the sample should be kept at room temperature).