A clinical laboratory carries out tests to provide information about the health of a patient. Many clinical decisions are based on microscopic results. Tests range from urinalysis to cancer screening, and play an important role in identifying, treating and preventing disease. Typical samples are body fluids such as blood and urine or tissues and cells from a patient.
- Cytopathology and Cytology take care of single cells and cell structures.
- Histopathology and Histology deal with tissues and their structure.
- Neuropathology is the study of diseases of the nervous system and of the brain.
- Hematology is concerned with blood samples and, for example, blood counts.
- Microbiology addresses organisms such as bacteria, fungi and other microbes.
- Virology deals with structure, classification and evolution of viruses.
- Primary health care addresses life-threatening and epidemic diseases especially in high burden countries.
Different sample preparation techniques and staining methods allow to visualize specific details in the sample such as the structure of a tissue or the amount of abnormal cells. Microscopes are important tools for seeing all the finest details required for a precise and accurate diagnosis in a clinical laboratory.