College of American Pathologists
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  All that’s new and familiar in blood gas analyzers


CAP Today




August 2009

Brendan Dabkowski

Makers of in vitro blood gas analyzers continue to develop instruments that deliver high-quality performance and provide real-time results at the point of care, freeing their customers from many of the restrictions and primitive capabilities of the analyzers’ forebears.

To drive home that point, Abbott Point of Care’s global marketing manager Kevin Ball juxtaposes the era of the pay phone with that of the omnipresent cell phone. “No one with a cell phone will go back to using pay phones, just as critical care departments won’t go back to their previous methods of obtaining blood gases after adopting the ability to obtain lab results at the bedside,” he says.

“Traditional laboratory testing is moving to patient bedside testing,” concurs Joy Ochoco, Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics’ marketing manager. And connectivity between data-management systems and in vitro blood gas analyzers is essential, she adds.

To this end, Siemens’ RapidPoint 340/350 series of portable blood gas analyzers for low- to mid-volume critical care patient testing sites interfaces with hospital and laboratory information systems via the company’s RapidComm data-management system. The RapidPoint 340 has a basic blood gas menu, while the 350 includes blood gas and electrolytes. The analyzers, released in April, are low-maintenance, small, easy-to-use cartridge-based systems, Ochoco says. The 340 and 350 are “ideal for operators in a variety of critical care testing sites, including intensive care units, operating or emergency rooms, and the clinical laboratory,” she adds. Last month Siemens also introduced in the United States a neonatal total bilirubin application for its RapidLab 1245 and 1265 analyzers.

Finding a niche in bedside testing is Radiometer America’s ABL80 Flex CO-OX compact blood gas analyzer, which hit the U.S. market last Sep­tember. Suitable for any volume of POC testing, the analyzer measures pH, blood gas, electrolytes, oximetry, and metabolite parameters, says product manager Heidi Egensperger. It uses “multi-wavelength technology for high measuring performance combined with an ultrasonic hemolyzation process, eliminating the risk of interference from chemical hemolyzing agents,” she says. The company has also expanded the parameter panel on its ABL800 series benchtop analyzer to include creatinine.

New from Opti Medical Systems is the Web-based Prism POC data manager, which became available early this year. The data manager, says vice president of sales and marketing Chris Southerland, will connect an unlimited number of the company’s blood gas analyzers via the Web to a central database repository for easy access to blood gas patient reports, QC data and statistics, and maintenance and audit trail reports. Opti Medical is also adding features and parameters to its Opti CCA-TS blood gas analyzer, which, he says, is an updated version of the Opti CCA. The ­CCA-TS has an expanded menu, touchscreen, and software upgrade capability and interfacing to an LIS/HIS via an Ethernet or RS-232 serial port. The company has enhanced the software for its Opti R system, too, which was launched in 2007.

At Instrumentation Laboratory, the newest offering in critical care is the Gem Premier 3500 blood gas analyzer. Worldwide product manager Xavier Nogue describes it as versatile and flexible for faster, easier, and more efficient critical care testing, and says it has self-contained testing cartridges, a complete test menu, intelligent quality management, and a large sampling area with LED light, which facilitates sampling and bar-code scanning.

At Roche Diagnostics, firmware version 7.02 for the Cobas b 221 blood gas system is the latest addition to the company’s blood gas product line. With the firmware, “the system will now trend any one of 18 parameters, including glucose, lactic acid, MetHb, and COHb,” says Larry Healy, marketing manager for professional diagnostics-hospital. The firmware provides user-defined test panels and measurement reports. Its QC set-up wizard aids users in configuring new QC lot ranges and run times quickly and easily, while a system log-in function is designed to help users comply with internal security policies as well as those of regulatory agencies. The log-in functionality has an operator ID and password requirement that is administered by the lab or respiratory therapy manager or POC coordinator. Such security features are important, Healy says, because IT solutions will play a greater role in managing patient data as the U.S. health care model increasingly embraces the concept of standardized electronic medical records.

Many of the systems in this month’s in vitro blood gas analyzers product guide will be familiar, among them Nova Biomedical’s Stat Profile Critical Care Xpress, or CCX, instrument. Introduced in 2002, the system has a menu of up to 20 measured tests, including bilirubin, BUN, creatinine, and co-oximetry; remote control and review of test results; operator and QC lockout; and enterprisewide connectivity through a single interface. Nova also offers six Stat Profile pHOx analyzer models designed for more mod­erate throughput and test menu requirements. The CCX and pHOx models together “address the varying needs of different-sized hospitals and departments that use blood gas/critical care analyzers,” says marketing specialist Rick Rollins.

Another familiar face in this year’s guide is Abbott’s i-Stat 1 handheld analyzer, which was launched in 2001. The product performs a panel of tests, including blood gases, electrolytes, chemistries, coagulation, hematology, glucose, and cardiac markers. “With an increased need for real-time results in critical care areas,” Ball says, “the i-Stat allows caregivers to obtain critical information without leaving the patient’s side.”

CAP TODAY’s guide to in vitro blood gas analyzers includes products from the aforementioned manufacturers and from ITC. Companies supplied the information listed. Readers interested in a particular product should confirm it has the stated features and capabilities.

Brendan Dabkowski is CAP TODAY associate editor.

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