Clinical chemistry

Clinical chemistry is the discipline of laboratory medicine which consists of measuring the concentration of numerous molecules of interest in blood and the various biological fluids produced by the body.

Based at the Central Institute, the clinical chemistry and toxicology service of Valais Hospital aims to help doctors confirm a diagnosis for the patient, compile a prognosis of the disease and its development and verify the efficiency of treatments.

The analytical measures used make it possible to detect and measure even very low concentrations of the key molecules so that the doctor can confirm or exclude a clinical hypothesis. Based on this laboratory practice, it is possible to detect numerous pathologies in a very precise manner and to verify the effectiveness of treatments for patients so that the doctor can adapt the treatment based on the results obtained.
The wide range of clinical chemistry analyses available means that this discipline covers numerous fields of medicine such as cardiology, nephrology, endocrinology, oncology and gynaecology and laboratory specialists are often deployed to assist the doctor in interpreting the results. Certain examinations, such as screening for Down’s Syndrome during pregnancy, offer additional individualised examinations. The quality of the results obtained is ensured by international accreditation standards which govern numerous aspects linked to carrying out these analyses.

The majority of the clinical chemistry analyses are carried out 24 hours a day, 7 days a week which means that urgent analyses can be completed and results supplied in a very short space of time. The clinical chemistry analyses carried out most frequently are carried out, in addition to Sion, at the 7 regional laboratories of the Central Institute of hospitals based on harmonised methodologies and procedures. Depending on the importance and urgency of the analyses, they can also be carried out close to the patient’s bed, as in the case of measuring glucose levels or taking blood gas measurements but these analyses remain the responsibility of the laboratory.

Finally, frequent exchanges between the university centres and various scholarly societies ensure the application of the latest science and technology to benefit all of the patients in Valais.