Top 5 Tests

27 May 2022

Pathology is key to early diagnosis and effective treatment, and we are responsible for collecting and testing samples, analysing results, and informing clinicians of patient results.

There is a large variety of pathology tests collected daily - read about our top tests and discover more information about each.


1. Complete Blood Examination

The Complete Blood Examination (CBE) is a group of tests performed from one sample and is the most common and routinely performed pathology test. Also known as Full Blood Count (FBC) or Complete Blood Count (CBC), this test provides clinicians with valuable information about a person’s general health.

Results can show various kinds and numbers of cells in the blood and abnormalities in any of these cells can indicate the presence of medical disorders:

  • Red blood cells contain haemoglobin, a protein that carries oxygen to all the tissues of the body – Low red blood cells cause anaemia (fatigue and weakness).
  • White blood cells help protect the body against infection and aid in the immune response – High white blood cells can mean that the body may be fighting a bacterial infection, inflammation and allergies. Low white blood cells can result in diseases of the immune system and autoimmune disorders.
  • Platelets help the blood clotting process by plugging holes in broken blood vessels – Low numbers of platelets cause excessive bleeding.

Factsheet: Complete Blood Examination


2. Electrolytes/Kidney & Liver function tests

This group of tests evaluates kidney and liver function, including the following combination in the one sample: Liver Function Tests (LFTs), Electrolytes/Creatinine/Urea (ECU), Calcium (CAL), Phosphate (PHO), Urate (URA), and Glucose (GL).

There may be several reasons why a clinician would order this test, from a routine health check to monitoring an existing health condition. Health issues like infections, hepatitis, diabetes, and some autoimmune disorders can be linked to kidney and liver function.

Factsheet: Liver Function Tests (LFTs)

Factsheet: Kidneys


3. C-Reactive Protein/Inflammation

C-Reactive Protein (CRP) is a specific protein made by the liver when the body fights infections.

This test detects evidence of inflammation and its severity but cannot diagnose a particular disease. Testing supports the monitoring of patients after surgeries and patients with inflammatory diseases such as arthritis, autoimmune diseases, and inflammatory bowel disease.

Factsheet: C-Reactive Protein (CRP)


4. Magnesium Level

Magnesium is a mineral that comes from dietary sources and is found in every cell in the body – it is essential for producing energy, muscle contraction, nerve function, cardiac rhythm, and maintenance of strong bones. This test measures the amount of magnesium in the blood and helps determine the cause of low levels of calcium and potassium.

Testing magnesium levels may show the severity of diseases such as diabetes and kidney issues, and can also help diagnose gastrointestinal disorders.


5. Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH)

Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) is controlled by the pituitary gland, a small organ below the brain. TSH talks to the thyroid gland, located at the front of the base of the neck, sending information to step up or slow down the production of thyroid hormones.

This test helps screen and diagnose thyroid disorders and to monitor problems such as Hypothyroidism (low levels of hormones) and Hyperthyroidism (high levels of hormone).

Factsheet: Thyroid Function Tests


View our FAQs or patient preparation page for SA Pathology testing information and guidelines.

For detailed information about general pathology tests and specific conditions visit

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