Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

The Children's Hospital Los Angeles Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine is one of the most comprehensive pediatric pathology programs in the nation. The department offers some of the most sophisticated methods available for evaluating the full range of patient specimens, including blood and other fluids, tissue biopsies, surgical resections and other samples.

  • Accurate and appropriate diagnoses depend on the expertise level of pathologists and clinical laboratory scientists. Our skilled, board-certified pathologists are nationally renowned for their subspecialty expertise in diagnosis and consultation services.
  • Additionally, the department is actively involved in training future leaders in pediatric pathology and laboratory medicine, offering career development, education and training programs. Our physician researchers also participate in research to help improve and advance testing options for children.

Clinical Initiatives

Our hospital houses a full-service clinical laboratory along with several specialty laboratories to meet our patients needs as well as the needs of our community.

Research Initiatives

Physician-scientists in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine are conducting clinical, basic, and translational research in areas that include:

  • Brain tumor pathology
  • Molecular diagnostics
  • Antimicrobial drug resistance & development
  • Minimal residual disease in acute lymphoblastic leukemia & neuroblastoma
  • Molecular genetics of pediatric solid tumors
  • Molecular genetics and developmental biology of childhood sarcomas

The department has taken a leading national role in the use of genomics and gene expression in the diagnosis and management of solid tumors that primarily afflict pediatric patients.

Worldwide Consultation

We provide some of the most comprehensive pediatric pathology service programs nationwide. Our methods and techniques are state-of-the-art. Our staff are often consulted for their expertise nationally and internationally.

About Our Laboratories

Children’s Hospital Laboratories offers the following specialized testing capabilities. Our laboratories are licensed and accredited by the State of California and other accrediting agencies, such as The College of American Pathologists (CAP), AABB, Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT) and American Society for Histocompatibily & Immunogenetics (ASHI).

  • Biochemical Genetics and Special Chemistry Laboratory

The Biochemical Genetics and Special Chemistry Lab offers services for our patients, as well as for hospitals, clinics and doctors across the nation, using the latest advanced technology, such as Liquid Chromatography Mass Spectrometry (LC/MS/MS) and Ultra Performance Liquid Chromatography (UPLC). A new test has also recently been added to the LC/MS/MS to determine Total Homocysteine, Methylmalonic acid, Methionine and 2-methylcitric acid simultaneously.

Other tests offered include amino acids, enzyme assay and electrophoresis for the disorders in galactose pathway, Mucopolysaccharidosis screening, congenital disorders of glycosylation (CDG) screening, Biopterin profile and Orotic acid. This lab also provides a variety of special chemistry tests, such as Vitamin D, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, bulsulfan tolerance test and neopterin.

  • Bone Marrow Laboratory

This lab performs highly complex, specialized tests and morphological assessments on blood and bone marrow for the diagnosis of hematologic and oncologic disorders. Test results are available in a relatively short period of time to expedite diagnosis, treatment and follow-up care.

  • Hematology and Coagulation Laboratory
  • Clinical Chemistry
  • Microbiology Laboratory
  • Histocompatibility Laboratory
  • Molecular Microbiology Laboratory
  • Point-of-Care Testing

The Hematology and Coagulation Lab offers a variety of routine and special laboratory services. Our staff has expertise in blood cell morphology, which is a fundamental tool in the diagnosis of blood disorders, such as leukemias, anemias (sickle cell, thalasemias and other hemoglobinopathies), and malignancies like lymphoma (Hodgkin and Non-Hodgkin). Tests are analyzed using two state-of-the-art Sysmex XE-5000 hematology analyzers, offering the latest blood cell analytical innovations available.

Coagulation offers routine services for bleeding disorders such as Prothrombin Time (PT), Partial Thromboplastin Time (PTT) and Fibrinogen. Our special services include Factor deficiencies (Factor II,V,VII,VIII and IX), Factor VIII and IX inhibitors, Von Willebrand factor assay, as well as anticoagulant therapy monitoring assay, such as anti-Xa. We also offer platelet aggregation using Chrono-log Model 700 and PFA 100 to help in the diagnosis of platelet function disorders.

As part of the Core Lab Services, Clinical Chemistry provides a wide array of routine and special tests using sophisticated and technologically-advanced automated analyzers to accommodate high volume workload and complex testing methodologies. This technology ensures that analysis is thoroughly monitored, and quality controlled.

Clinical Chemistry is primarily involved in the measurement of blood, body fluids and essential biochemical components such as electrolytes, enzymes, lipids and proteins, as well as in testing in areas such as toxicology, endocrinology, trace metals, therapeutic and transplant drug monitoring. Some of the tests offered include sweat chloride and catecholamines determinations, which are helpful in the diagnosis of cystic fibrosis, neuroblastoma and pheochromocytoma.

The Microbiology Lab offers comprehensive and rapid diagnostic testing of infectious pathogens. Our dedicated and knowledgeable staff is available 24 hours per day to perform identification and susceptibility testing on clinical specimens. The lab offers clinical services in the following areas:

  • Bacteriology
  • Virology
  • Mycology
  • Parasitology

The Histocompatibility (HLA) Lab provides leukocyte antigen typing, antibody identification and crossmatch services for the Bone Marrow Transplant Program, as well as the Solid Organ Transplant (cardiothoracic, kidney and liver) programs. In addition to serving the hospital’s outreach programs, the lab provides services for other hospitals in the region.

Molecular Microbiology uses leading-edge molecular technologies to perform fast and accurate detection and identification of viral and bacterial pathogens, as well as to provide critical support for transplant care through consistent and reliable monitoring of the adenovirus, cytomegalovirus (CMV) and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) viral load.

Point-of-care testing (POC) is rapid medical testing provided at or near a patient’s bedside. Testing is conducted by Clinical Laboratory, Nursing, Emergency Medicine & Transport, Surgery and Respiratory Care staff, using very small sample volumes. Children’s Hospital Los Angeles validated 10 types of POC analyzers that deliver results in less than five minutes, allowing doctors to make immediate clinical decisions regarding how to manage a patient’s care. These analyzers perform urinalysis, pregnancy tests, chemistries, blood gas and electrolyte analysis, hemoglobin, hemoglobin A1C, whole blood glucose, ACT and percent hemoglobin oxygen saturation testing.

The POC Department ensures that regulatory requirements and quality standards set forth by Joint Commission, College of American Pathologists and other regulating agencies are met. The department coordinates training for POC testing and provides support to the Nursing and Respiratory Care departments by validating and maintaining the POC analyzers, and also managing electronic data from POC analyzers.