College of American Pathologists
Printable Version

  New tests, sensors, firmware for blood
  gas analyzers






August 2007
Feature Story

Anne Ford

The way that Alan Beder, Radiometer manager of scientific affairs, characterizes his company’s product development strategy sounds a bit like one of those enigmatic Zen koans (such as “What is the sound of one hand clapping?”)—but only at first. To optimize the usefulness of its blood gas analyzers, his company “doesn’t simply focus on the analyzer,” he says.

That is, Beder explains: “Instead, we look at the entire testing workflow, from sample collection to reported result, and develop products needed at each stage of the process. Our product portfolio reflects this approach.” That portfolio includes SafePico arterial blood gas samplers, ABL analyzers, and Radiance software, which “are integrated to work together throughout the testing process,” he says. It also includes the ABL80 Flex point-of-care analyzer, to which Radiometer plans to soon add glucose and co-oximetry, and the ABL800. Creatinine on the latter has FDA approval; “we are currently ramping up to meet high demand for this parameter,” Beder adds.

Other new developments from the companies featured in this month’s instrumentation survey, which covers in vitro blood gas analyzers, include:

arrow Nova Biomedical’s addition of total bilirubin to its Stat Profile Critical Care Xpress, or CCX, analyzer, along with the ability to report estimated glomerular filtration rate with every serum creatinine measurement. The 13 available CCX models “feature test menus including pH, PO2, PCO2, SO2%, hematocrit, hemoglobin, sodium, potassium, chloride, ionized calcium, ionized magnesium, glucose, lactate, BUN, creatinine, bilirubin, and co-oximetry,” reports marketing communications manager Harlan Polishook. “The CCX models, combined with six Stat Profile pHOx models, address the varying needs of different size hospitals and departments that use blood gas/critical-care analyzers.”

arrow New firmware, software, and connectivity features from Roche. In late May, the company upgraded its Cobas b 221 blood gas system’s firmware “to help point-of-care clinicians have a greater ability to streamline their lab workflow and access valuable patient trending data,” says Larry Healy, marketing manager of blood gas products. The most significant addition to the firmware, he says, is “a continuous self-monitoring feature that tracks the status of electrodes, sensors, and consumables; provides real-time onboard maintenance logs; lists all scheduled maintenance activities to be performed; and even gives the operator advance notice of needed maintenance.”

The upgraded firmware, Healy adds, also uses acid-base map trending. This “exclusive new tool,” he says, is a graphic program that “presents a clear picture of a critically ill patient’s acid-base map data over time, offering contextual information that can help the health care provider evaluate the patient’s response to treatment.” In other Roche news, the company has upgraded its OmniLink software. Combined with the new Cobas b 221 firmware, it allows for centralized control of multiple Cobas b 221 blood gas systems, real-time screen sharing of all connected systems, remote diagnostics, and around-the-clock virtual on-site support. Meanwhile, the Cobas b 221 system itself now features connectivity to MAS Rals-Plus data-management software.

arrow The addition of chloride to Medica’s menu “in response to international requests,” says Doug Moe, vice president of business development. The company also “plans to add new sensors to report measured values where they had been originally calculated,” while “new technology being developed at Medica will permit easy replacement of all electrodes as a module, but at no cost premium over discrete electrodes due to advanced material and deposition technology.” In the future, Moe says, “new platforms will further refine the serviceability of the systems by users, eliminating the need for on-site service, which can be expensive and slow. True modularity is key to this strategy.”

arrow The Opti R system from Opti Medical Systems. Introduced late last year, the system features reusable sensor cassettes, each of which can be used to analyze 50 patient samples; provides results in less than one minute for pH, blood gas, sodium, potassium, iCa, total hemoglobin, and oxygen saturation; and offers direct measurement of total hemoglobin and SO2. In addition, at CAP TODAY press time, the company was about to launch BUN “to expand the Opti CCA-TS instrument’s test menu with additional assays that are in development, such as lactate,” says marketing director Lydia Dodson-Lehrer. “Customers want menu expansion and expanded panel offerings, and that is what Opti Medical is providing.”

CAP TODAY’s survey of in vitro blood gas analyzers includes products from the abovementioned manufacturers and from Abbott Point of Care, Instrumentation Laboratories, International Technidyne Corp., and Siemens Medical Solutions Diagnostics. Vendors supplied the information listed. Readers interested in a particular product should confirm it has the stated features and capabilities.

Anne Ford is a writer in Chicago.


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