Yellow Pages Articles
How long does it take to get my results and how will I receive them?
by Julian Henwood
Once we have a medical test, we tend to go into a state of dread while waiting for the results. One thing we often forget to ask the doctor or nurse is how long it will take before the results become available.
The time it takes for results to become available depends on the particular test or examination being performed. The most common sampling test by a doctor is a blood test. Most pathology centres will have the results of a blood test available within 24 to 48 hours. Some blood tests, such as measuring blood stickiness (INR) whilst on blood thinning medication, usually come back within hours. Examination of blood, urine, stool and swab samples to see if an infecting organism (bug) is present, and how sensitive it is to various antibiotics, may take longer than a couple of days. Tissue samples taken during an operation for further analysis can also take days depending on what is being analysed. With x-rays and scans, the results are available within minutes. These are analysed by a specialist (e.g. radiologist) and a letter is sent back to your doctor usually that day or the next. Often you will be asked to wait to take the scans back home with you. Bring these to your doctor at your next visit.
Can I get my results directly?
Results are sent back to the doctor who requested the test. He will review the results and explain them to you at your next appointment, or by phone if it is urgent. If necessary, he will discuss a treatment plan with you. For this reason, the results are forwarded to your doctor, not to you.
Ask your doctor how soon your results will be available, and whether they will be phoning them through to you or if you have to make an appointment to receive them.