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Children's Hospital at Dartmouth Hitchcock (CHad)
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Tests

We perform tests to:

  • Measure the levels of various hormones in a patient's body
  • Learn if the endocrine glands are working correctly
  • Determine the cause of an endocrinological problem

Our tests include:

  • Blood glucose tests
  • Bone density tests
  • CT and MRI tests
  • Thyroid scans and other hormone tests
  • Urinalysis

Preparing for your visit

Because endocrine disorders can affect so many aspects of a child's growth and development, we will want to gather as much information as possible about your child's past medical history.

  • You can help by requesting medical records from any physician that sees your child, and having them forwarded directly to our office. Faxed records are acceptable, but some items such as growth charts, do not fax well. If your child has had any lab work or X-rays, please be sure that these are included.
  • If your child has not been seen for by the same provider, or has not been measured at regular intervals, you may be able to get records from their school or from your personal records, such as a baby book.
  • You will also receive a long form with detailed questions about medical history. Please fill out this questionnaire and bring it with you for the first appointment. If you have any questions about the form, simply leave them blank and we can complete them during the visit.

Let your child know that they will be coming for a complete check-up. If the child is old enough to understand, please explain the purpose of the visit in terms they can take in.

The initial visit

Time

  • Please plan to spend between 1.5 and 2 hours for the first visit. This will allow ample time to review the history, perform the examination, discuss the plan, and to obtain blood work. If your child needs X-rays, additional time may be needed.
  • This is an awfully long time for a child to sit still, so be sure to bring some toys or books. If you have other children, please try to arrange for a sitter—we want you to be able to devote your full attention to the patient and our discussion.

The healthcare team

  • A whole team cares for children with endocrine problems, including medical secretaries, nurses, nutritionists, social workers, psychologists, nurse practitioners and physicians. Because this is a teaching institution, we frequently have medical students and pediatric residents working with us. Please be assured that the history and physical exam will be reviewed by the attending physician.

The physical examination

  • Because hormones affect almost every part of the body, we will usually do a comprehensive physical exam at the initial visit. We are particularly attentive to measurements of height and weight, and the stage of sexual development. If you believe your child will be particularly anxious about the exam, please let us know and we will make every effort to make them as comfortable as possible.

After the appointment

  • It is often necessary to measure hormone levels in the blood in order to make a full assessment, and the tests typically take 1-2 weeks to perform. Within 3 weeks of the appointment, you should receive a call from our office (or a letter) explaining the results of the lab tests and any changes to the plans that were discussed at the visit. If you do not hear from us within 4 weeks, please give our office a call.
  • Some tests must be performed at a specific time of day, and we may arrange for these to be done closer to home. If you have lab tests done at an outside facility, it is especially important that you ensure that the lab tests have been sent to our office and that we have reviewed the results.
  • Certain hormones must be measured under special circumstances. If these are required, we will ask you to schedule another appointment specifically for testing.
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