Critical Values

Critical Laboratory Values are defined as values that represent an immediately life-threatening pathophysiological state for any patient regardless of clinical status and which require prompt intervention. Every effort is made to call all critical laboratory values to a responsible licensed caregiver within 30 minutes.

Chemistry Critical Values

Chemistry Tests  Equal to or Less Than Equal to or Greater Than
Bilirubin: Age 0 - 30 days   15.0 mg/dL
Calcium, Total 6.5 mg/dL 12.0 mg/dL
Calcium, Ionized 3.5 mg/dL 5.8 mg/dL
CO2 content 11.0 mmol/L 40.0 mmol/L

Glucose:  Age 0-24 hrs

    (random, fasting, tolerance)

 40 mg/dL

400 mg/dL

Glucose:  Age >24 hrs

    (random, fasting, tolerance)

50 mg/dL 400 mg/dL
Magnesium 1.0 mg/dL 5.0 mg/dL
Osmolality, Measured 250 mOsm/kg  335 mOsm/kg
Phosphorus 1.0 mg/dL  
Potassium 2.5 mmol/L 6.5 mmol/L
Sodium 120 mmol/L 160 mmol/L

Hematology and Coagulation Critical Values

Hematology Tests Equal to or Less Than Equal to or Greater Than

60%  (> 1 month of age)

70% (≤ 1 month of age)

Hemoglobin 6 g/dL  
WBC 1.0 K/uL 50 K/uL
Blasts   Presence (>0)
Malaria   Presence (>0)
Partial Thromboplastin Time   85 sec.
Prothrombin Time   40 sec.
International Normalized Ratio (INR)   5.0

Drug Critical Values

Drug Equal to or Less Than Equal to or Greater Than
Acetaminophen   50 ug/mL
Digoxin   2.5 ng/dL
Lidocaine   6.5 ug/mL
Lithium   1.5 mmol/L
Procainamide (+ NAPA)   30 ug/mL

Blood Gas Critical Values

Blood Gas Test Values Less Than Values Greater Than
Arterial Blood Gas: Adult    
pH 7.25 units 7.60 units
pCO2 25 mmHg 60 mmHg
pO2 60 mmHg  
Arterial Blood Gas: Newborn    
pH 7.20 units 7.50 units
pCO2 30 mmHg 60 mmHg
pO2 40 mmHg 90 mmHg

Microbiology Critical Values

Test Name Result
Blood Culture Positive Culture or Gram Stain
CSF Culture Positive Culture or Gram Stain
Cryptococcal Antigen Positive
India Ink Exam Positive