What are Rule Outs

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Question: What does the term “Rule Outs” mean when you have a bunch of things/diseases listed after a high or low value of a blood test in your What Do My Lab Results Mean document in your website?

Answer: There are a number of things that might have caused a high or low level of a particular blood test abnormality, and these need to be ruled out by other tests or observations or intuition/gut instinct. Some of the possibilities will have more weight and be more highly suspect because of your lifestyle habits, your environment, your age, and your history.

For those diseases that are the most likely diagnosis, other tests may be included to rule that particular disease “in” or “out” depending on the test results of these additional tests. This is much like putting a jigsaw puzzle together and searching for the exact placement of the pieces to the puzzle.

This Sherlock Holmes activity of what to put in or take out of a rule outs list is one of my favorites because I get to add in so many other tidbits of information that the medical system doesn’t have time to ask in making a final “jigsaw puzzle” assessment. I have tried to make these rule-outs more understandable by associating the layman’s terminology with the medical work (usually in parentheses).

Helpful Links and References on What is a Rule Out: