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Old 01-01-2011, 09:19 AM
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Default Nursing Lab Values Cheat Sheet

Lab Values: Cheat Sheet

Red Blood Cells (RBC):
- Normal: male = 4.6- 6.2 female = 4.2- 5.2
- Actual count of red corpuscles

- Normal: male = 14-18 g/dl female = 12-16 g/dl
- A direct measure of oxygen carrying capacity of the blood

Hematocrit :
- Normal: males = 39- 49% female = 35- 45%
- = the percentage of blood that is composed of erythrocytes

Mean Cell Volume (MCV):
- Normal: male = 80- 96 female = 82- 98
Mean Cell Hemoglobin (MCH):
- Normal: 27- 33
- = % volume of hemoglobin per RBC

* Increase: indicates folate deficiency
* Decrease: indicates iron deficiency

Mean Cell Hemoglobin Concentration):
- Normal: 31- 35

Reticulocyte Count:
- Normal: 0.5-2.5% of RBC
- An indirect measure of RBC production

Red Blood Cell Distribution Width (RDW):
- Normal: 11-16%
- Indicates variation in red cell volume
* Increase: indicates iron deficiency anemia or mixed anemia
- Note: increase in RDW occurs earlier than decrease in MCV therefore RDW is used for early detection of iron deficiency anemia

Platelet Count:
- Normal: 140,000 - 440,000

* Low: worry patient will bleed
* High: not clinically significant

White Blood Cell (WBC):
- Normal: 3.4 – 10

* Increase: occur during infections and physiologic stress
* Decreases: marrow suppression and chemotherapy

Sodium (Na):
- Normal: 136- 145
- Major contributory to cell osmolality and in control of water balance
* Hypernatremia: greater than 145
? Causes: sodium overload or volume depletion
? Seen in: impaired thirst, inability to replace insensible losses, renal or GI loss
? S/sx: thirst, restlessness, irritability, lethargy, muscle twitching, seizures, hyper flexia,
coma and death.
* Hyponatremia: 136 or less (panic <125)
? Causes: true depletion or dilutional
? Occur in: CHF, diarrhea, sweating, thiazides
? Symptoms: agitation, anorexia, apathy, disorientation, lethargy, muscle cramps and

Potassium (K):
- Normal: 3.5- 5.0
- Regulated by renal function
* Hypokalemia: less than 3.5

* Hyperkalemia: greater than 5.0 (panic > 6)

NOTE: False K elevations are seen in hemolysis of samples!

Chloride (Cl):
- Normal: 96- 106
* Reduced: by metabolic alkalosis
* Increased: by metabolic or respiratory acidosis

Bicarbonate (HCO3):
- Normal: 24- 30
- The test represents bicarbonate (the base form of the carbonic acid-bicarbonate buffer system)
* Decreased: acidosis
* Increased: alkalosis

Normal: 70- 110
* Hyperglycemia:
? s/sx: increase thirst, increase urination and increased hunger (3Ps). May progress to coma
? causes: include diabetes
* Hypoglycemia:
? s/sx: sweating, hunger, anxiety, trembling, blurred vision, weakness, headache or altered
mental status
? causes: fasting, insulin administration (panic level <50)

BUN: Blood Urea Nitrogen
- Normal: 8- 20
- Panic = > 100 mg/dl

Serum Creatinine (SCr):
- Normal: 0.7- 1.5 for adults and 0.2- 0.7 for children
- SCr is constant in patients with normal kidney function.
* Increase:
? Indicates worsening renal function

Total Protein and Albumin:
- Total protein: normal = 5.5- 9.0
- Albumin: normal = 3.- 5
o Related to liver status
* Low:
?Cause: liver dysfunction
?S/sx: peripheral edema, ascites, periorbital edema and pulmonary edema.

Serum Calcium (Ca):
- Normal = 8.5- 10.8
* Hypocalcemia: less than 8.5
? Causes: low serum proteins (most common), decreased intake, calcitonin, steroids, loop
diuretics, high PO4, low Mg, hypoparathyroidism (common), renal failure, vitamin D
deficiency (common), pancreatitis
? S/sx: fatigue, depression, memory loss, hallucinations and possible seizures or tetany
? Lead to: MI, cardiac arrhytmias and hypotension
? Early signs: finger numbness, tingling, burning of extremities and paresthias.

* Hypercalcemia: more than 10.8
? Cause: malignancy or hyperparathyroidism (most common), excessive IV Ca salts,
supplements, chronic immobilization, Pagets disease, sarcoidosis, hyperthyroidism,
lithium, androgens, tamoxifen, estrogen, progesterone, excessive vit D or thyroid
? Acute (>14.5) s/sx: nausea, vomiting, dyspepsia and anorexia
? Severe s/sx: lethargy, psychosis, cerebellar ataxia and possibly coma or death
? Increased risk of digoxin toxicity

Phosphate (PO4):
- Normal: 2.6- 4.5

Magnesium (Mg):
- Normal: 1.5- 2.2
- Primarily eliminated by the kidney
* Hypomagnesemia: less than 1.5
? Causes: excessive losses from GI tract (diarrhea or vomiting) or kidneys (diuretics).
Alcoholism may lead to low levels
? S/sx: weakness, muscle fasciculation with tremor, tetany, increased reflexes, personality
changes, convulsions, psychosis, come and cardiac arrhythmia.
* Hypermagnesemia: more than 2.2
? Caueses: incrased intake in the presence of renal dysfunction (common), hepatitis and
Addisons disease
? S/sx: at 2-5 mEq/L = bradycardia, flushing, sweating, N/V, low Ca
at 10-15 mEq/L = flaccid paralysis, EKG changes
over 15 = respiratory distress and asystole.

Alkaline Phosphatase:
- Normal: ranges vary widely
- Group of enzymes found in the liver, bones, small intestine, kidneys, placenta and leukocytes (most activity from bones and liver)
* Increased: occurs in liver dysfunction

Aminotransferases (ALT and AST):
- ALT and AST are measure indicators of liver disease. Sensitive to hepatic inflammation and necrosis.
- ? Increase: occurs after MI, muscle diseases and hemolysis.
- Normal ALT: 3- 30

Direct Bilirubin (Conjugated):
- Normal: 0.1-0.3 mg/d;
* Increase: associated with increases in other liver enzymes and reflect liver disease

- Normal: should be clear yellow
* Cloudy: results from urates (acid), phosphates (alkaline) or presence of RBC or WBC
* Foam: from protein or bile acids in urine
- Side note: some medications will change color of urine
o Red-Orange: Pyridium, rifampin, senna, phenothiazines.
o Blue-Green: Azo dyes, Elavil, methylene blue, Clorets abuse
o Brown-Black: Cascara, chloroquine, senna, iron salts, Flagyl, sulfonoamides and nitrofurantoin

- Normal: 4.5- 8

Protein content [in urine]:
- Normal: 0 - +1 or less than 150 mg/day
* Protein in urine: indication of hemolysis, high BP, UTI, fever, renal tubular damage,
exercise, CHF, diabetic nephropathy, preeclampsia of pregnancy, multiple myeloma,

nephrosis, lupus nephritis and others.

Microscopic analysis of Urine:
- Urine should be sterile (no normal flora)
- Few, if any, cells should be found
- Significant bacteriuria is defined by an initial positive dipstick for leukocyte esterase or nitrites. If more than 1 or 2 species seen, contaminated specimen is likely.
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Old 01-01-2011, 01:36 PM
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You just made my life easy! I was looking to do something like this to tote around in clinicals. Thank You!
icurnmaggie likes this.
Sarah Too, RN

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Old 01-01-2011, 06:19 PM
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I'm going to print this out as a quick reference for when I get my next bunch of labs back. It's so easy to forget stuff that you don't use all the time any more.
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