A handheld device produced by Phillips (Eindhoven, The Netherlands), the Minicare I-20, may cut down the turnaround time for the diagnosis of patients presenting to the emergency department with chest pain. The diagnostic requires only a single drop of blood, which can be used to produce lab-comparable results in 10 mins in close proximity to the patient. As the result is delivered while the patient is being assessed, treatment decisions could be made more rapidly, thus improving patient care.
Of the patients who present to the emergency department with chest pain, only 10% can be diagnosed with an ECG. Blood tests for the cardiac marker troponin are required for the diagnosis of myocardial infarction in the remaining 90% of patients. Fast triage and rapid initiation of treatment are critical for high risk cardiac patients in order to improve patient outcomes.
“Blood samples are usually analysed in the hospital laboratory, which can easily take more than an hour to get the result back to the ED physician. Point of care testing can significantly help to reduce the turnaround time,” commented Paul Collinson, St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (London, UK).
At present, physicians may have to wait up to 6 hours before making a decision regarding safe discharge. The Minicare I-20 could reduce the length of the diagnostic process by up to three hours.
The Minicare I-20, which is easy to use by non-laboratory staff, was tested in real life acute care settings within the European project Lab2Go. The device, which has an intuitive interface and includes failsafes, guides the user through the necessary steps. Data can be directly transferred to the laboratory or hospital information systems to update patient files.
Validation of the clinical and analytic performance of the new diagnostic technology was carried out in multicenter clinical studies. When compared to central laboratory assays the device demonstrated excellent clinical performance, and the developers hope that it can be utilized commonly in a clinical setting in the near future.