Case studies – The Role of Pathology in Our Lives

Case Study 1 – An example of prenatal and postnatal testing

Sarah and Steven are the proud parents of two week old Benjamin. This is their first child. Sarah’s pregnancy was relatively easy, but her gynaecologist requested a number of routine tests to be performed to ensure the health and well being of Sarah and her unborn baby. These tests were all performed by the pathology laboratory.

Sarah and Steven had planned for this pregnancy, and thus a number of checks were performed before conception occurred.

Before pregnancy her rubella status was checked to ensure adequate immunisation against German measles, which can be dangerous if it occurs during pregnancy.

Sarah’s sister has cystic fibrosis and they were worried the disease may be passed onto the baby. They visited a specialist who sent them for genetic testing. Sarah is not a carrier of this gene and hence cannot pass it onto her child.

After she became pregnant, Sarah was given a number of other tests to ensure the health of mother and babe.

During her pregnancy Sarah had her urine regularly checked for glucose and protein. Should either of these have shown up in the urine it would have indicated possible renal impairment. Fortunately these were negative.

Sarah had a 12 hour labour and then delivered Benjamin with the proud father Steven at her bedside.

Sarah’s care during her pregnancy has relied on the results of tests performed by pathology professionals.

Pathology professionals – from the blood collector to the scientist who performs the tests, to the pathologist reviews unexpected abnormal results and liaises with the patient’s clinician – have ensured the best possible care for Sarah and her babe.

This is not unusual, it is estimated that approximately 85% of all physician decisions regarding diagnosis and treatment are based on laboratory test results.