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
Hematocrit  

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

 

 

 

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Apex Healthplex
120 Healthplex Way
Apex, NC 27502

7:30 am to 4:30 pm, Mon-Fri
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Apex Healthplex


Brier Creek Healthplex
8001 T.W. Alexander Road
Raleigh, NC 27617

7:30 am to 4:30 pm, Mon-Fri
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Brier Creek Healthplex


Cary Hospital
1900 Kildaire Farm Road
Cary, NC 27518

6 am to 6 pm, Mon-Fri
*Limited weekend hours: 9 am to 1 pm on Saturday; also open on holidays

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Cary Hospital


Garner Healthplex
400 US Hwy 70 E
Garner, NC 27529

7:30 am to 5:30 pm, Mon-Thurs
7:30 am to 4:30 pm, Fri
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Garner Healthplex


North Family Health & Women's Hospital
10000 Falls of Neuse Road
Raleigh, NC 27614

8 am to 4:30 pm, Mon-Fri
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WakeMed North


Raleigh Medical Park         
23 Sunnybrook Road
Raleigh, NC 27610

7 am to 5 pm, Mon-Fri
No Weekend Hours

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Raleigh Medical Park


Note: Outpatient lab services are no longer offered on Raleigh Campus.