Researchers concluded that blood sampling analysis as the only method of diagnosis for hypogonadism is leading to under- and overdiagnosis of low-T.
Blood tests alone are unreliable in screening for hypogonadism, according to a study published in the May issue of Urology. Along with the American Urological Association (AUA), researchers from NewYork Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center reviewed published data of more than 10,000 patients.
Investigators revealed that even with advances in technology, issues such as inconsistent laboratory practices can lead to unreliable blood test results. The researchers believe that relying only on blood screenings can lead to both under- and overtreatment of hypogonadism.
“In some cases, testosterone (T) levels, tested on the same day from a blood sample taken from a single patient, differed by as much 30% from 1 lab to the next,” Darius A. Paduch, MD, PhD, urologist and male sexual medicine specialist at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center said in a press release. “It's critical to primarily focus on treating the patient and his symptoms, while using the T level from a blood test as a secondary guideline.”
Some of the laboratory inconsistencies the researchers highlighted include collecting and storing blood samples differently in laboratories and using different methods of analyzing the results. The authors advocate for standardizing blood testing guidelines to prevent overdiagnosis of low-T, and using signs and symptoms present in an individual as the basis of diagnosis.