Diagnosis is the process of determining the nature or cause of a certain disease/condition.
Diagnosis can be divided in:
- Physical diagnosis - the process of diagnosing a disease or condition based on findings obtained by inspection, palpation, percussion and auscultation of the patient.
- Clinical diagnosis - the process of diagnosing a disease or a condition based on the patient’s signs and symptoms.
- Differential diagnosis - comparing two or more diseases/conditions with similar signs and symptoms with the purpose of differentiating them.
- Paraclinical diagnosis - the process of diagnosing a certain disease or condition based on:
- Laboratory findings (blood tests, urine tests, feaces tests, other biological material tests)
- Imagistic findings (USG, CT, MRI, etc.)
- Functional testing
- Blood tests - the interpretation of some medical condition based on blood sample analysis that is usually extracted from a vein. Types of blood tests:
- Biochemical analysis - a metabolic panel that determines the level of sodium, potassium, bicarbonate, creatinine, urea, glucose, calcium, cholesterol and other components of the blood. There are some normal ranges by which the doctor can determine if some component’s level is low or high compared to the norm.
- Cellular evaluation - a general blood analysis that can determine:
- Complete blood count - counting the blood components (red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets) and comparing them to the normal range.
- Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) - the rate at which the red blood cells sediment in a period of one hour.
- Cross-matching - the test that is performed before blood transfusion to determine if the donor’s blood is compatible with the recipient’s. The procedure is used in transplantation medicine.
- Blood culture - a microbiological culture of blood used to determine the infection spreading through it.
- Molecular profiles -
- Protein electrophoresis - a method of analyzing the protein in blood.
- Liver function tests - a group of blood tests that give information about the liver function.
- DNA profiling using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) - a technique used to amplify a focused segment of DNA to monitor and diagnose genetic diseases. This technique is also used in forensic science to identify criminals through DNA material.
- Northern Blot - a technique used to study gene expression by detection of RNA.
- Urine tests:
- Urinalysis - testing the urine to determine if all the parameters are normal compared to a normal range.
- Urine culture - microbiological culture of urine to determine the infection present in the urinary system.
- Urine electrolyte level - a test performed for the purpose of viewing the electrolyte levels.
- Stool analysis - the process of analyzing faeces to diagnose conditions of the gastrointestinal system (GS).
- Chemical tests - testing the fecal material to determine if all the parameters are within the normal range.
- Fecal occult blood test - the test is used to determine conditions that may cause bleeding in the GS.
- Microbiology tests - is either microscopic exam to determine parasitic diseases, or microbiological culture to determine bacteria or viruses present in the stool.
Any other biological material (cerebrospinal fluid, sputum, sperm, pus etc.) can be microscopically or microbiologically tested.
Medical imaging is the process of visual representation of the interior of the human body as well as the function of some internal organs for the purpose of clinical analysis and medical intervention.
- Radiography - the 2D technique of radioimaging using X-rays.
- Tomography - a diagnostic method of viewing a single plane by section (slicing) with the use of the penetrating wave of X-rays.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) - an imaging technique used to view the anatomy and physiological processes of the body with the use of the MRI scanner.
- Ultrasound (sonography) - an imaging technique that uses ultrasound to view internal organs and other body structures (tendons, muscles, joints).
- Thermography - an imaging technique using infrared, that works to determine breast cancer. The principle is that the metabolic activity is always higher in both precancerous tissue and the surrounding area of the breast cancer, than in normal tissue.
- Echocardiography - imaging the heart with the use of ultrasound.
- Nuclear medicine - a medical branch that involves the use of radioactive substances for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment:
- Scintigraphy - a technique that captures and forms the 2D imaging using gamma camera, after the internal taking of radioisotopes by the patient. The radioisotopes form the image that the gamma camera captures.
- SPECT - imaging technique using gamma rays that provides a 3D image of the body.
- PET - a functional imaging technique used to view the metabolic processes of the body.
Functional diagnosis includes a series of non-invasive examinations to determine a patient’s diseases or conditions:
- Electrocardiography (ECG) - the graphic interpretation of the electrical activity of the heart using electrodes that are placed on the skin.
- Cardiac stress test (treadmill) - while running on a treadmill, the electrodes placed on the skin measure the heart’s ability to respond to external stress.
- Holter monitor (24h ECG) - a portable device that monitors the heart’s electrical activity for at least 24h, and registers abnormalities of the heart function during the whole monitoring period.
- Spirometry - a test that measures the ability of the lungs to pass large amounts of air volume through airways to determine the level of airway obstruction.
- Pulse oximetry - a non-invasive technique to determine oxygen saturation (the amount of oxygen in the blood bound to hemoglobin), using a small device attached to a fingertip or an earlobe.