The brass tacks of blood gas analyzers
Be on alert for blood gas traps
approach, it seems time to shake off the frivolities of summer and
get back down to business. And it looks like blood gas analyzer
manufacturers are following suit: With a host of features, manufacturers
aim to demonstrate that their commitment to streamlining the analytical
process is serious business indeed.
EasyBloodGas and EasyStat monitors were designed with simplicity
in mind, says Doug Moe, vice president of business development.
He’s proud that end users can perform most service on them
with minimal help from the company. Since Medica has a strong presence
in the international market, he points out, “we can’t
have people flying to Russia to service a machine. We try to keep
things very simple, very intuitive. We think the future is eliminating
approach is also behind the company’s decision to limit the
number of analytes in its menus. “I think the trend is towards
putting more and more analytes in a single array,” Moe says.
“The downside to that is, the cost per test is higher because
of the technology required to make those arrays. We’ll add
analytes, but we
won’t do it at the expense of cost per test."
On another crest
of the streamlining wave, customizable interfaces prevent extraneous
information from overwhelming the user. With Nova’s Stat Profile
Critical Care Xpress family of analyzers, says marketing director
Ron Newby, hospitals can choose “what data fields they want
to have, what order they want to have them in, defaults. They can
actually customize up to 30 different panels and name them whatever
they want. They have all the configuration and all the flexibility
you’d have on a desktop computer.”
ABL 700 series of blood gas analyzers, too, allows users to “create
customized data input fields with drop-down boxes for all patient
populations,” says senior product manager Alan Beder. “So
if they know they have a neonatal specimen where they would like
to include settings from a high-frequency ventilator, they can have
a template for that, or if it’s for an intensive-care adult
patient, they can set up another template giving information for
the conventional ventilator used in that area.” As a bonus,
he says, “all the data input can be done directly at the analyzer”
instead of at an LIS or other data-management workstation, eliminating
an extra step for the user.
Then, too, the
company hopes to save hospitals time and labor with expanded parameter
profiles. “We’re the only company that has a 35-µL
whole-blood bilirubin measurement as part of a blood gas analyzer,”
Beder says. “The benefit here is, you’re conserving
blood—you’re not having to collect or run as many samples.”
blood gas analysis, however, manufacturers aren’t neglecting
accuracy concerns. Philips Medical Systems and Osmetech stress that
bar coding plays a key role in laboratories’ efforts to reduce
error. Both Philips’ Blood Analysis Portal system and Osmetech’s
Opti CCA blood gas analyzer feature bar-code readers, “so
there’s no manual entry,” says Osmetech product manager
Michael Lehtinen. “It takes the human errors out of the equation.”
The Abbott i-Stat,
too, says product manager Joey Baugh, aims for accuracy by providing
a new set of electrodes each time a test is run, “so you don’t
have to continually QC electrodes, versus a benchtop analyzer where
the electrodes are reused.” The i-Stat also runs onboard calibration
with every test.
CAP TODAY’s lineup of blood gas analyzers includes, in addition to those
mentioned here, Abbott’s i-Stat 1; Bayer’s Rapidpoint 400 series;
Diametrics’ IRMA blood analysis system; Instrumentation Laboratory’s
Synthesis series, Gem Premier 3000, and Gem 3100; Nova’s Stat Profile
pHOx, pHOx Basic, pHOx Plus, pHOx Plus L, and Critical Care Xpress 3 Plus; Radiometer’s
ABL 5 and ABL 77; and Roche’s Omni C analyzer and Omni modular system.
Vendors supplied the information listed. Readers interested in a particular
analyzer should confirm that it has the stated features and capabilities.
Anne Ford is CAPTODAY senior editor.