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Lab Math

Lab Math defenitions

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Is a substance dissolved in a mixture


Amount of matter per unit volume


The process of checking, using standard

solutions, adjusting a method or instrument so it yields accurate results

Reportable Range:

Span of test values which lab establishes the accuracy of an instrument


Closeness of a result to the true value

Predictive Values:

Means or ability to predict the results of an analysis of the same data by using another test instrument. It contributes to the validity of the test


Is a measure of the number of patients with a disease who test positive relative to the total number of patients who test positive. Sensitivity provides us with the percentage of true positives

Scientific International Unit:

Modified metric system to ensure results are consistent in any part of the world

Blind patient control:

Used in place or addition to a commercial control

Confidence Intervals:

The reference range is expressed using 2SD on either side of the mean, with 95% of the values falling above and below the mean.

Also referred to as confidence limits


2 or more ratios having the same relative meaning but with different numbers

Panic Value:

Is a patient’s lab result that is life-threatening if action is not taken quickly


Any substance used to produce a chemical reaction


The base unit of measurement of distance

Levy-Jennings Chart:

Daily quality control record


measurement of temperature

Reference Range:

same as normal range

Gram % Solution:

Percentage of gram weight in a solution

Blank Solutions:

Are used to ensure that the results obtained in the lab reflect only the presence of the analyte and not some other factor


unit of weight

Normal Range:

Is the range of results that are expected to be found when a healthy individual is tested

Technical Grade:

Chemicals used for industrial purposes


A value expressed as part of 100


Is a measure of the number of patients with no disease who test negative relative to the total number of patients who test negative. Specificity provides us with the percentage of true negatives


Material or solution with a known concentration of the analytes being measured


Chemical solution of a known concentration that can be used as a reference or calibration substance

Quality Assurance:

Encompasses every aspect of laboratory testing beginning with the physician ordering a test and ending when they receive the laboratory report with the test results


Is used to indicate that a number must be multiplied by itself as many times as indicated by the exponent. Example 10^10, 10 is multiplied by itself 10 times


Refers to the number of moles per kilogram of solvent. It is expressed as a concentration of weight per unit

Stock Solution:

Concentrated solution used to make up working solutions

V/V Solution:

Volume to volume solution; 2 liquids


Refers to the number of moles of solute per litre of solution. A mole is the number of grams of a substance that is equal to its atomic or molecular weight. Its importance is useful to know how many molecules are present for a reaction to take place.


Example 1:4 where the first number represents the parts of the substance used and the second number the parts of the solvent used

W/V Solution:

Weight to volume solution; the amount of solute in a solvent


Is a mixture of 2 or more pure substances. In a solution, 1 pure substance is dissolved in another pure substance homogenously


The middle value of an entire data set


Hydrogen ion concentration

Quality Control:

Is part of QA which involves the processes undertaken during the actual testing of the patient samples to ensure that the test results are reliable


Is the number of osmoles of solute per kilogram of solvent


A weaker solution made from a stronger solution


Base unit to measure volume

Proficiency Testing:

Program under which samples are sent to a group of laboratories for analysis. Results are compared with the laboratories participating in the program


Average calculated from a series of numbers


The number that comes up the most (the value that appears most frequently in a set of data)


Depending on test results to be accurate

Standard Deviation:

Is a measure of the spread or dispersion of a set of data

Coefficient of Variation:

Shows variability between 2 different sets of values

Analytical grade:

The most pure grade of chemical


measurement of temperature


Repeated results give the same value

Working Solution:

Is the solution for use; made from a stock solution

Westgard’s Rules:

Is a set of rules to determine if a method is in or out of control

Significant Figure or Digit:

a number whose accuracy is reliable

Specific Gravity:

Is a measurement of density, a ratio of the mass of a substance relative to water


Amount of 1 substance relative to the amount of another substance in a solution

Scientific Notation:

Is reducing large numbers by using exponents


A substance in which something is dissolved; for example water

Gaussian Curve:

Distribution of values around the mean

Therapeutic Range:

Range of results that refers to either the dosage range or blood concentration usually expected to achieve desired therapeutic effects


A fundamental unit of mass used by chemists. This term refers to a large number of elementary particles; atoms, molecules, ions, electrons


Number of osmoles of solute per litre of solution


a unit of osmotic pressure equivalent to the amount of solute that dissociates in solution to form one mole (6.02 x10^23) of particles

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