panic value

panic value2016-11-08T17:32:23+00:00

panic value 

panic value image from New Medical Terms

panic values (critical values)


A popular term for results from a patient’s specimen which must be reported immediately to the patient’s doctor or clinician–i.e., the results are of such severity as to mandate urgent therapy. 

The College of American Pathologists prefers the term critical results. Panic values is more commonly used in the working lay parlance.

Panic values


Analyte          SI units               US units

Calcium         < 1.65 mmol/L    <  6.6 mg/dl   

                       > 2.22 mmol/L   > 12.9 mg/dl

Glucose         < 2.60 mmol/L    < 46 mg/dl    

                       > 26.9 mmol/L   > 484 mg/dl

K+                  <  2.8 mmol/L     <  2.8 mEq/L    

                       >  6.2 mmol/L    >  6.2 mEq/L   

                       >  8.0 mmol/L if hemolysed

Na+                < 120 mmol/L     < 120 mEq/L      

                      > 158 mmol/L     > 158 mEq/L

Plasma CO2  <  11 mmol/L     <  11 mMol  

                      >  40 mmol/L      >  40 mMol

Haematology, e.g., blasts or sickle cells on a peripheral smear, possibly indicating leukaemia or sickle cell anaemia 

Microbiology Positive gram stain or culture from blood, serosal fluids or CSF, acid-fast stain or positive mycobacterial culture 

Transfusion medicine Incompatible cross-match and positive serology for VDRL; the panic values differ in each lab and route of communication is at the discretion of the lab director  

Synonyms Alert value, critical value 

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