Clinical Chemistry

What is clinical chemistry?

Clinical chemistry uses chemical processes to measure levels of chemical components in the blood. The most common specimens used in clinical chemistry are blood and urine. Many different tests exist to test for almost any type of chemical component in blood or urine. Components may include blood glucose, electrolytes, enzymes, hormones, lipids (fats), other metabolic substances, and proteins.

What are some common clinical chemistry tests?

The following is a description of some of the most common clinical chemistry tests (used on blood and urine specimens), including some of the uses and indications.

Enzyme Organ Affected
Creatine kinase Can signal heart damage from heart attack or other
Alanine aminotransferase (AAT, SGOT), aspartate or aminotransferase (AST, SGPT) Can signal liver disorders and bone diseases
Amylase and lipase Can signal inflammation or cancer of the pancreas
Hormone Gland Affected
Cortisol Adrenal Glands
Thyroxine (T4), TSH Thyroid Gland
FSH, ACTH, growth hormones Pituitary Gland
Lipid Organ Affected
Cholesterol Can signal coronary heart disease
High-density lipoprotein (HDL or "good" cholesterol)

Low-density lipoprotein (LDL or "bad" cholesterol)
Can estimate risk for coronary heart disease
Triglycerides Together with levels of cholesterol, this lipid can help indicate risk for coronary heart disease
Metabolic Product Organ Affected
BUN (blood urea nitrogen) Kidney function
Uric acid Can signal gout, kidney disease, and other tissue damage
Protein Organ Affected
Albumin Can signal liver or kidney disease, or malnutrition
Globulins Can signal infection, inflammation, and certain blood cancers

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