Rising need for combined analyzers are swiftly gaining popularity among users as they require less maintenance and can facilitate test results for both blood and electrolyte samples.

The latest advancements in blood gas analysis technology are focused on fast, reliable solutions that improve diagnosis times for patients and clinicians. Today's blood gas analyzers are advanced analytical systems that can simultaneously perform hemoglobin quantitation and cooximetry, as well as measure electrolytes (sodium, potassium chloride, ionized calcium, and magnesium), glucose, lactate, and creatinine. They allow a complete analytical procedure to be performed with small specimen volumes.

Continued technology enhancements and innovations in blood gas instrumentation have reduced test times to less than a minute and decreased the amount of blood needed from milliliters to microliters. Information technologies have advanced the field of blood gas and electrolyte analysis.

Advanced analyzers have computer interfaces and internal algorithms to calculate pertinent parameters and expanding the test menu and sample types that can be analyzed. Companies are offering blood gas and electrolyte analyzers comprising versatile instruments that feature a comprehensive testing menu and provide results in minutes.

Technology Trends

Multi-parameter monitoring. The emergence of multi-parameter monitoring equipment owing to expanding test menus and increasing demand for miniaturized devices are expected to gain traction. Test menus can be customized to include any combination of analytes and calculated parameters depending on the capability of the equipment.

Portable analyzers are witnessing wider adoption over benchtop analyzers owing to advantages including ease-of-use and portability, automation of tasks, reduced manual errors, low maintenance, and self-monitoring ability are some notable factors attributing to the segment's large market share.

Rising need for combined analyzers, which can analyze blood and electrolyte samples together are swiftly gaining popularity among users as they require less maintenance and can facilitate test results for both blood and electrolyte count in a given sample of whole blood, urine, serum, plasma, or dialysate.

Point-of-care analyzers. Continued technological improvement taking place in the portable or handheld devices attracts end-users to switch toward point-of-care analyzers is a key driving factor for this segment.

It has gained special importance in emergency transport systems, cardiothoracic surgical departments, and critical care departments as indicated by a large volume of systems developed for these areas. These devices involve automated sample handling, help reduce associated errors, render user variability and are therefore expected to score high on the consumer preference matrix.

The availability of blood gas analyzers has helped enhance the care of critically ill patients allowing for frequent diagnosis and monitoring of respiratory problems and the ability to guide prognosis and therapy. Rising demand for technically advanced sleek handheld devices involving short turnaround time has resulted in the development of more compact, sleek, handheld point-of-care devices.

Industry Speak
ABG - An Important Test for Critical Patients

Blood gas testing is considered as one of the most important critical care testing parameters. Blood gas measurement involves measuring the real time O2 level and CO2 level in the arterial blood (purest form of blood) along with pH to know the acid base status.

Blood gas measurement basically works with three major technologies - conventional electrode-based, disposable cartridge-based, and non-invasive transcutaneous measurement.

Over the years, technology evolved to minimize the size of the analyzer and use of disposable electrodes. Companies started using disposable sensor cartridge technology in products. This technology enables user with ease of use, less maintenance, and totally hassle free. But still the comparison for the quality of the cartridge is always done with gold standard electrode technologies.

Third technology is non-invasive measurement of blood gas, transcutaneous monitoring works with exchange of gases through skin diffusion, measured through the sensors placed on the skin, measurement of gas at the tissue level, this has great application in neonatology and pediatrics where continuous monitoring plays a vital role and reducing the number of blood samples collected from neonatal or pediatric patients.

Invariably, whatever be the technology, clinicians, anesthetists, and surgeons demand to have more parameters like electrolytes, ionized calcium, and lactate along with blood gas. Now with the latest requirement of inclusion of creatinine will add more value in the usage of ABG analyzer in the department of emergency.

Top-end models offer a wide selection of blood gas analyzers with features and functionality that match the needs of the facility depending on the size of the hospital. Specially designed for demanding hospital wards like ICUs, NICUs, and ED, suitable analyzer is always ready for the next sample. Radiometer has suitable models to provide small, portable, easy-to-use analyzers for low-volume settings. Fully operational on battery and with customizable test panels, they can be shared between several departments.

Dr Sudhindra S G
Head of the Laboratory,
Mallya Hospital, Bangalore

Risk mitigation offered by the automated system checks in the analyzers has helped detect errors sooner to possibly prevent the reporting of erroneous results and improve efficiency. Automatic quality control has ensured regulatory compliance when the analyzer is used outside the respiratory department or lab. The random use of blood gas analyzers to measure blood gases, electrolytes, and metabolites increases the variability in test results.

Quality assessment functions. With patient safety being a top concern today, automated solutions which enable positive patient identification through bar-coded syringes and analyzers that are operable at the bedside have been introduced. Fully automated calibration and quality control systems help ensure accuracy and support compliance without operator interaction.

Built-in quality assessment functions provide test site directors with full documentation to meet regulatory requirements in a transparent manner, automatically executing performance assessments at a frequency that exceeds minimum regulatory mandates. All quality data and assessments of critical analytical components are evaluated, recorded, and documented.

Making the analytical processes as standardized and finely calibrated as possible would increase the accuracy of testing. Maintaining sample integrity, operator safety, data accuracy, and workflow efficiency are essential features of a modern blood gas analysis system. Standardization in techniques is critical as variations in areas such as specimen preparation, turnaround time, handling, and analysis can affect test results.

The blood gas and electrolytes analyzers are going through transition with the introduction of analyzers that offer widely varied throughput, responding to differing test volumes handled by laboratories in different settings. These analyzers are set to replace many handheld or single-cartridge systems without changing the clinician's workflow.

Modern analyzers can automatically identify, mix, and aspirate arterial blood gas samples, reducing user variability and the possibility of errors. Microsensors have replaced macroelectrodes, resulting in smaller pathways. This has further increased the need for appropriate sample mixing immediately after aspiration to prevent microclots.

Vendors have designed samplers that facilitate mitigate sampling and mixing issues. Aspirators and syringes have been developed to optimize sample quality and results to help minimize pre-analytical errors. Auto-aspiration feature makes sure the test cartridge is filled properly and also includes bubbles and clot detection. Features to check for cartridge packaging integrity and proper storage have also been developed.

10 Diagnostic Imaging Trends for 2018



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