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LABORATORY: Overview

In the evaluation of children and adolescents who have been abused, the laboratory has several functions. Among these are

  • To evaluate for sexually transmitted diseases
  • To evaluate for pregnancy
  • To evaluate for suspected physical injuries
  • To evaluate for failure to thrive
  • To test for exposure to illicit drugs or to drugs used for the purpose of incapacitation

Laboratory tests are always done in conjunction with the history and physical and cannot take the place of a well-done history and physical. When using the laboratory, be aware of the limitations of a particular test in order to effectively judge the quality of the information provided by that test.


Key Concepts
line line Testing for Sexually Transmitted Diseases

  • Symptoms of STDs
  • Who should be tested
  • Testing the suspected perpetrator
  • Techniques for collecting specimens
  • Diagnostic methods
  • Diagnostic testing
  • HIV
  • After an acute assault
Testing for Pregnancy

Evaluation for Suspected Physical Injuries

  • Evaluation for a bleeding disorder
  • Evaluation for visceral injury
Failure to Thrive

Toxicology Testing

  • Toxicology screening in newborns
  • Club drugs
Additional Resources

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Laboratory: Overview  Laboratory: Testing for Sexually Transmitted Diseases  Laboratory: Testing for Pregnancy  Laboratory: Evaluation for Suspected Physical Injuries  Laboratory: Failure to Thrive  Laboratory: Toxicology Testing  Laboratory: Additional Resources 

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