Investigating tiredness in Australian general practice. Do pathology tests help in diagnosis?

Angela Gialamas, Justin J. Beilby, Nicole L. Pratt, Rhys Henning, John E. Marley, John F. Roddick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


INTRODUCTION: Tiredness is a common presentation in general practice for which pathology tests are commonly ordered. Our aim was to study their utilisation for tiredness. METHODS: We examined an integrated database which contains the medical records for 58,139 patients and their 696,518 associated general practitioner encounters. Three hundred and forty-two patients and their 1652 associated encounters were randomly selected out of 12,291 patients and their 26,748 associated encounters that had mentioned tiredness (or a synonym). RESULTS: One hundred and eighty-one patients (53%) had at least one pathology test ordered at any time in their episode of care. Patients over 60 years of age, patients who consulted their GP more than once and patients without comorbidity were more likely to have a pathology test ordered. Only 12 patients (3%) had a significant clinical diagnosis based on an abnormal pathology test. CONCLUSION: Pathology testing for patients presenting with tiredness is high. Most tests do not yield a significant clinical diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)663-666
Number of pages4
JournalAustralian Family Physician
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2003
Externally publishedYes


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