Cellular pathology studies diseases by examining the cells of the body. Histopathology examines the cells of internal organs, while cytology examines the cells in cervical smears and other body fluids. Neuropathology specialises in the brain and its fluid, nerves and muscles and specimen from or near the eye. Biomedical imaging examines specimens using an electron microscopy, with high magnification levels allowing cell inner structures to be seen. Viruses can also be detected. The Mortuary performs the examination after death, where a post mortem is required to establish the cause of death. Samples may be taken and sent to any department in pathology to assist in the investigation.
Chemical pathology carries out an analysis of chemicals in the body. Many of the tests are performed on automated analysers, with a direct link to the pathology computer system. The tests can detect the function of the liver and kidney, monitor diabetic patients, drug therapy, cholesterol levels and hormone levels. Toxic substances and trace elements can be detected.
Haematology and blood transfusion
Haematology is the study of blood. Automated analysers are used for blood counts and tests associated with clotting. Haematology has clinics for patients with genetic blood disorders, on coagulation therapy and on blood and cancer therapies. The blood transfusion laboratory tests for compatibility, and issues all blood transfusion products.
Immunology is concerned with the immune response of the body to itself, transplants and to allergens.
Molecular Pathology provides molecular testing for cell clonality and tissue typing for bone marrow transplantation as well as the molecular investigation of thrombophilia and haemostasis
Microbiology and Virology
Microbiology diagnoses infections caused by bacteria, fungi and parasites and viruses in the body and environment and is managed by the Health Protection Agency. Bacteria are grown and identified, then tested for their antibiotic sensitivity. Antibiotic sensitivity patterns are recorded and monitored for the development of resistance and for detecting outbreaks of infections, both in hospitals and in the community. Antibiotic levels are monitored for effective treatment levels. Viruses are detected by the presence of the virus or by the immune response to the virus. Bacteria can also be detected in this way.