Urinary Cast and Crystals: Indicators of Underlying Clinical Pathology

Urinary Cast and Crystals

When you see Casts and Crystals ‘Urine’ Trouble

As the 9th leading cause of death, chronic kidney disease (CKD) causes more deaths than breast or prostate cancer in the U.S.1 Early identification and timely, comprehensive therapeutic interventions can help drastically improve patient outcomes. However, the lack of standardized processes and screening methodologies can lead to misidentification or diagnostic uncertainty. Identifying the undiagnosed renal patient within the vast number of undifferentiated patients presented to physicians is challenging and can lead to potential treatment delays with associated increases in permanent damage or mortality.

During the webinar, Dr. Steve Ness and Dawn Tobin will discuss how teamwork between laboratory and clinical medicine can improve patient care through accurate classification, identification and diagnosis of patients with abnormal urine casts and/or crystals. They will discuss the challenges associated with current manual screening methods, as well as the opportunities for accurate identification and classification, with automated screening and morphology.

After this webinar, you will be able to:

  • Familiarize yourself with an overview of the renal system
  • Explain the global impact and clinical importance of CKD
  • Discern the different types of urinary casts and crystals and their role in assisting with patient diagnosis
  • Describe the benefits of using automated digital microscopy to take the subjectivity out of urinalysis

Ideal For: Laboratory Technician, Laboratory Director, Medical Director, Pathologist, Physician

Presenter: Steve Ness, D.O.

Dr. Ness is a member of the Medical and Scientific Affairs team at Beckman Coulter. Dr. Ness graduated from Norwich University Military College of Vermont with a B.S. in Biology. Upon graduation, he was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy. He attended medical school at the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine. He completed a pediatric internship at Balboa Naval Hospital in San Diego, CA. Dr. Ness was the Regimental Surgeon for the 11th Marine Regiment based at Camp Pendleton, CA, where he had 5 Navy physicians under his direction and 3,000 active-duty Marines under his medical care. After completing a tour of duty in Iraq as a Navy physician, he held senior marketing and scientific affairs positions in diagnostic companies and reference laboratories. He also co-founded a veterinary reference laboratory called Veterinary Diagnostics Institute, where he sold the rights of a proprietary canine and feline cardiac biomarker to Idexx Laboratories in Westbrook, Maine.

Dawn Tobin, MLS (ASCP) SH

Dawn is currently the manager of the Technical Product Specialist team at Beckman Coulter. Dawn attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and the University of Nebraska Medical Center where she received her BS degree in Medical Technology. Prior to joining Beckman Coulter in 2005, Dawn had several roles in the clinical laboratory to include Technical Specialist, Hematology Supervisor, Laboratory Operations Supervisor, and Laboratory Director. Hematology has been Dawn’s primary focus throughout her career, prompting her to seek her Specialty in Hematology certification. Dawn has been a speaker for Beckman Coulter at local, state and regional meetings. Her favorite area of interest has been developing case studies with customers to provide interesting and educational information to clinical laboratorians.


  1. National Kidney Foundation. "Kidney Disease Basics."
    www.kidney.org/news/newsroom/factsheets/kidneydiseasebasics. Accessed 12 Jun. 2020.