Discovering asymptomatic biochemical abnormalities on a Baltimore internal medicine service.

R. P. Ferguson, F. R. Kohler, J. Chavez, J. Puthumana, S. Zaidi, H. Shakil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To assess the frequency of abnormalities that could be discovered through biochemical profile screening on patients admitted to a city hospital internal medicine ward service, we conducted a prospective cross-sectional chart and laboratory review. All unassigned patients admitted to the general medicine service during 1- to 2-month period in late 1993 and the spring of 1994 were eligible. The main outcome measures were frequency of abnormal test results and identification of significance. Admitted patients (N = 222) were evaluated with a 24-panel biochemical profile. Of 5,328 tests, 29% were outside the standard reference range. Of 3,851 tests classified as screening, 1,049 (27%) were outside the reference range. Of overall screening tests, 741 (19%) were judged potentially important by the predetermined criteria. The prevalence did not differ significantly when analyzed by age, race, gender, or history of substance abuse. Our experience indicates that asymptomatic biochemical abnormalities are common in patients admitted to a city hospital medical service and that admission biochemical screening is an effective method of identifying potential comorbidity. Further studies are needed to assess the impact of this approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)543-546
Number of pages4
JournalMaryland medical journal (Baltimore, Md. : 1985)
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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