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Special Preparations for Accurate Lab Test Results

One of the most important factors in determining the accuracy and reliability of your lab test is you, the patient. After all, it is a sample from your body (blood, urine, or some other specimen) on which the test will be performed. Therefore, it is essential that you do the following to ensure that the results will be useful and interpreted correctly by your health care provider:

• Follow instructions, if there are any, to prepare for the specific test you are having performed.
• Alert the person collecting your sample if you have deviated from the instructions and how.
• Inform your health care provider of any medications (including vitamins and supplements) you are taking. If you are taking certain prescribed medications, such as blood-thinners or seizure medication, you may want to write down the exact time at which you took your dose and when your blood was drawn. This information will be useful if your doctor has any questions about your test results.

Certain behaviors may affect some test results, such as recent or excessive exercise, not taking in enough fluids (dehydration), excessive eating, or recent sexual activity. You may be asked to refrain from some of these activities for certain tests. It should be noted that many tests require no special preparation. But for those that do, be certain to adhere to the instructions provided. If you are ever unclear about the instructions, be sure to ask the person ordering the test for clarification. If you are not given any instructions, you should ask if there are any special instructions needed to prepare for the test.

Some common laboratory tests that require advance preparation include:
12 hours

Lipid Profile

12 hours fasting is a must (also 10-14 hrs is acceptable).

6-8 hours

Fasting Blood Sugar

8 hours fasting is a must (also 6-10 hours is acceptable).

2 hours

2 hours Post Prandial

2 fasting hours are calculated from the start of the meal & after taking anti-diabetic therapy, the meal time should not exceed 10 mins.

48 hours

Urine Culture

Proper washing of hand and genitalia with soap & water. Discharge first few drops of urine and collect the midstream in the sterile container. Stop antibiotic administration 48 hours before testing. In the case of home-samples, the sample should reach the lab within maximum 2 hours. (the first-morning sample is preferable).

24 hours

Urine Collection for 24 hours

Void all the urine, register the starting time and collect every drop of urine till next day at the same time in a clean lab container. Keep the collection in the fridge until it is sent to the laboratory.

2-7 days

Semen Analysis

Abstinence from coitus for at least 2-7 days, the sample is collected inside the laboratory.

48 hours

Stool Culture

Samples should reach the laboratory within 2 hours after collection only in the sterile container provided by the laboratory. Stop antibiotics administration 48 hours before testing.

10 days


Should be done after 10 days from per rectal examination, catheterization or cystoscopy.



Samples should be taken in the same period during follow-ups.

3-4 weeks


Testing should not be done during heamolotic crises or within 3-4 weeks after blood transfusion.

6-8 hours


6-8 hours of fasting is preferred.

4 hours

Urea Breath Test

Stop antibiotics and anti-acidity drugs for 1 week. Fasting for a minimum of 4 hours is required.

48 hours

Prostate, Urethra Swab

Abstinence coitus for 48 hours, and keep a full bladder for at least one hour before testing. Stop antibiotics for 48 hours before testing.