The Department of Pathology and Laboratory Services offers routine and rare laboratory services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
Our clinical, pathological and genetic laboratories provide local, regional, national and international physicians with a full range of diagnostic services that inform their patient care.
Laboratory services at Children's Hospital Colorado
Our laboratory testing plays a key role in the detection, diagnosis and treatment of pediatric, adult and prenatal conditions. With state-of-the-art laboratory services, facilities and technologies, we support and guide quality patient care across the pediatric spectrum.
Our labs offer a wide range of high-quality lab screenings and diagnostic tests with rapid turnaround times, as well as an unmatched scope and capabilities, including diagnostic tests that aren't available anywhere else in the country. We provide access to the care and expertise of the Children’s Colorado specialists your child may need and laboratory services such as:
- Reference services
- Prenatal genetic testing
- A large team of experts available for consultation
Clinical laboratory services and clinical labs
Our clinical pathologists focus on the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease to support your child's care.
Our CAP-accredited clinical labs also improve physicians' ability to treat patients, as we provide the accurate results, expert insights and objective information they need to make the right decisions for their patients.
We have several clinical labs here at Children's Colorado, each providing unique expertise.
The Core Laboratory offers general and specialized laboratory testing on blood, body fluids and urine 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The laboratory technologists at each Children's Hospital Colorado lab are specially trained on the intricacies of pediatric laboratory testing, so they can provide the extra level of expertise necessary to help diagnose and treat pediatric illnesses.
The Core Laboratory consists of three sections: chemistry, hematology and flow cytometry.
- Chemistry Lab: This laboratory gets providers the evidence they need to make informed clinical decisions about the concentrations of specific chemicals in blood, urine and other bodily fluids. We're able to complete most general chemistry tests in one hour, allowing physicians to make critical care decisions in a timely manner.
- Hematology Lab: Specially trained in pediatric blood and body fluid cell identification, the medical technologists at the Hematology Laboratory help our doctors at The Hematology Program properly diagnose and care for patients with blood disorders.
- Flow Cytometry Lab: This laboratory analyzes blood and bone marrow samples, providing the evidence physicians at the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders need to make a diagnosis.
Because we believe in making quality care accessible and we want to make things a little easier for your family, we offer care as close to home as possible. We have outpatient labs at locations throughout Colorado.
The pathology and laboratory medicine experts at our outpatient labs specialize in pediatric blood draws, so they know how to draw blood and obtain samples from the smallest of patients. When we're doing blood tests for kids, we aim to calm your child's fears and make them as comfortable as possible.
Laboratory equipment tailored to kids
No kid likes needles, which is why we perform finger sticks and heel sticks as often as possible. And when we need a larger sample and have to draw blood from a vein (venipuncture), we use the smallest possible needle: the butterfly needle.
We also use heel and hand warmers to warm the site where we'll be drawing blood and to increase circulation and blood flow. Even though this takes a little more time, we believe it's important to go the extra mile so your child is as comfortable as possible.
Sometimes, instead of coming to our lab for testing, the lab comes to you. Point-of-care (POC) testing refers to the tests that your child's care team conducts at their bedside – at the point of care.
And when team members perform POC testing, parents can rest easy knowing that every nurse, provider and clinical care team member meets or exceeds our standards for quality and patient safety.
The Transfusion Medicine branch of our Laboratory Services Department is responsible for supplying safe, pure and potent blood and cellular therapy products to the patients we serve.
The Transfusion Medicine Laboratory is comprised of four sections:
- The Blood Bank: The Blood Bank is responsible for receiving, processing, storing and shipping blood products drawn by the Blood Donor Center and subsequently preparing them for patient use. Through testing of patient blood samples, the Blood Bank determines the blood product needs of each patient to meet their individual specifications. And as a level one trauma center for a seven-state surrounding area, the Blood Bank is prepared for trauma emergencies.
- The Blood and Marrow Transplant Laboratory: Working closely with the Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplant Program team, this lab helps to ensure the best possible outcomes for our pediatric transplant patients.
- Therapeutic Apheresis: The Therapeutic Apheresis team supports the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders by providing critical services such as:
- Therapeutic plasma exchange
- Red blood cell exchanges
- Stem cell collections that are then manufactured in the Blood and Marrow Transplant Laboratory
- The Blood Donor Center: The blood donated to our Blood Donor Center and stored in the Blood Bank makes the lifesaving procedures performed at Children's Colorado possible.
The specialists in our Microbiology Lab serve as vital consultants to our physicians, helping to determine what medications will cure an infection.
Working closely with other teams throughout the hospital and the clinical laboratory – like the Infectious Disease, Antimicrobial Stewardship and Pharmacy teams – this lab aids in the diagnosis of many diseases, including those caused by bacteria, fungi, parasites and other microorganisms.
Pathology laboratory services and facilities
The goal of our Anatomic Pathology teams is to make accurate, specific and comprehensive diagnoses, enabling physicians to develop optimal treatment plans. Our pathologists are medical doctors who are specially trained in interpreting biopsy results and diagnosing a disease by examining tissue, blood and body fluid samples. The pathology laboratories help doctors diagnose or rule out diseases or conditions. We offer full anatomic pathology laboratory services, including:
- Flow cytometry
- Electron microscopy
An electron microscope is an extremely powerful type of microscope our pathologists use to diagnose certain diseases that can only be diagnosed at a subcellular level. The equipment in our Electron Microscopy Lab can magnify a sample up to 2 million times, while a traditional microscope magnifies only up to 2 thousand times.
The Electron Microscopy Laboratory at Children's Colorado is nationally recognized as a leading diagnostic facility serving pediatric and adult populations.
Genetics laboratories and facilities
The genetics laboratories within the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Services aim to provide complete genetic solutions for genetic disorders. Our labs offer esoteric testing and next-generation sequencing for a wide range of genetic and cancer disorders.
Our Biochemical Genetics Lab was established in 1968 as part of a federally funded program to improve the diagnosis and treatment of children with inborn errors of metabolism in several western states.
This laboratory provides biochemical genetic testing to:
- Support newborn screenings
- Aid the diagnosis and ongoing treatment of metabolic disorders, including disorders of amino acid, organic acid and fatty acid metabolism
The Precision Diagnostics Laboratory team provides expert molecular testing and interpretation in the following areas:
- Common and uncommon inherited diseases
- Molecular oncology
- Bone marrow transplant monitoring
This laboratory was formed through a joining of the Denver Genetics Laboratory and the Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory to create a comprehensive molecular laboratory focused on all areas of molecular precision diagnostics.
Our Mitochondrial Lab performs diagnostic testing for respiratory chain enzyme diseases. Our lab specialists then provide detailed analyses and interpretations of the test results.
The Mitochondrial Lab team works closely with Miracles for Mitos, a local mitochondrial support group, to provide support and information for families and patients affected by mitochondrial disease.
Contact the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Services
If you have questions regarding our department's capabilities, various laboratories, tests or how to proceed, browse our list of frequently asked questions or contact our Client Services Call Center.