The Department of Pathology and Laboratory Services (DPALS) is a full service College of American Pathology (CAP) accredited institution. Our mission is to provide quality care and customer service while promoting a trained, healthy and ready force.
The CAP, celebrating 50 years as the gold standard in laboratory accreditation, is a medical society that serves more than 17,000 physician members and the global laboratory community. It is the world’s largest association composed exclusively of board-certified pathologists and is the worldwide leader in laboratory quality assurance. CAP advocates accountable, high quality, and cost effective patient care. More information about CAP can be found at www.cap.org.
Fasting for Laboratory Tests
Patients have an important role in ensuring the accuracy of their blood tests. In order to ensure useful and precise results, it is vital for patients to correctly prepare for the specific blood test they are having. Although some blood tests require no special preparation, the majority of tests require fasting.
Fasting is a common type of preparation required for certain laboratory tests. It requires a patient to go without all or certain foods for eight to 12 hours. Patients may also be advised to avoid certain drinks or medications. Certain behaviors, such as smoking, excessive exercise and dehydration may also alter some test results. Your health care provider may ask you to avoid these activities before testing.
How Long Should You Fast?
Your doctor may recommend a certain time period for fasting. If he does not, you should know the standard amount of time is 8 to 12 hours of no food before having blood drawn. Plan to come to the laboratory and have your blood collected early in the morning so you'll only need to fast overnight to meet requirements.
Fasting Dos and Don'ts
• Do stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
• Do take prescribed medications unless specifically told by your doctor not to.
• Don’t smoke, drink any other liquid than water or exercise during your fast. Even chewing gum is off-limits.
Any of these elements will adversely affect your test results.
Follow Doctors Orders
Because some tests have very specific requirements, follow your doctor's orders regarding fasting and "npo" status (nothing by mouth--including water) before having blood tests.
Glucose Tolerance Test / Gestational Diabetes Screening
The oral glucose tolerance test should be done in the morning after an overnight fast of between 8 and 14 hours. During the three previous days the patient follows an unrestricted diet and unlimited physical activity. The test involves quickly drinking a sweetened liquid (Glucola), which contains a designated glucose load and drawing blood to measure glucose levels at the start and at set time intervals thereafter. The patient remains at the laboratory during testing and should not smoke throughout the test. Due to the length of time involved, for the patient to remain at the laboratory, it is recommended that patients not bring children with them during testing.