27 Jan Tests and procedures in clinical trial protocols: basic terminology (Part I)
Patients participating in clinical trial protocols usually have tests and procedures done with very different aims: diagnosing a condition, measuring a parameter, restoring a function, etc. They are as varied as the medical areas covered by protocols. We will try to outline terminological problems of the most common procedures (lab test, biopsies, radiological imaging, etc.) in a series of posts.
Which is the meaning of the term “procedure”?
Before proceeding any further, let’s examine the term “procedure”. We could define it as “a particular way of accomplishing something or of acting”, but also as “a series of steps followed in a regular or definite order” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary). Then, not only “procedimiento” could be a Spanish translation of this term, but also “técnica”, “intervención”, or “operación”, “intervención quirúrgica” and “técnica quirúrgica”, as in o “surgical / operative procedure”. It will always depend on the context.
“A biopsy is a procedure (procedimiento) to remove a piece of tissue or a sample of cells from the body so that it can be analyzed in a laboratory.”
“Like any operative procedure (intervención quirúrgica), obesity surgery has risks.”
“Procedure (técnica) for breast reconstruction” (in a document explaining the steps followed for breast reconstruction)
Is a medical test the same as a medical procedure?
No, a medical test is a type of medical procedure used to detect, diagnose or monitor medical conditions, diseases, abnormalities of any kind, or response to treatments, for example. Therefore, all medical tests are procedures, but not all procedures are medical tests.
Translation of this word is very straightforward: prueba. However, in some cases, other translations are encouraged:
Blood test = análisis de sangre
Urine test = análisis de orina
ECG test = electrocardiograma
Vaginal smear test = citología vaginal
[Susana Sánchez collaborates with Okodia in biomedical translations]