Biomedical Laboratory Science

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Proper Patient Preparation, Specimen Collection, and Sample Handling are Critical to Quality Care

Garbage In, Garbage Out (GIGO), as the saying goes. This adage has been applied in a universal manner in addressing human errors. It certainly applies to establishing laboratory procedures that ensure care in managing the pre-analytical phase of laboratory testing. Sixty years ago, many common laboratory tests were performed manually, and thus were prone to inaccuracy and analytical mistakes. Today’s advanced technology places laboratory science in a highly automated and quality-focused environment that ensures accurate testing processes.

Total Testing Process (TTP)

Medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the U.S. The laboratory’s contribution to this major healthcare concern is only 0.33 percent.1 While this number appears small, laboratory errors do occur, not always resulting is death, but nevertheless having an important impact on patient care. As clinical laboratory scientists, we must make every effort to produce accurate test results.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Blood Tests for Prion Disease.

Two studies describe methods for detecting these misfolded proteins in human blood samples.

Thousands of Europeans may be asymptomatic carriers of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD), a fatal prion disease that is the human variant of Mad Cow disease. But now, two studies published December 21 in Science Translational Medicine describe new methods for detecting even latent vCJD, which could make blood transfusions safer and help early detection and treatment of the disease.

The blood tests accurately diagnosed 32 patients between the two studies, distinguishing those with the disease from 391 healthy controls. In both cases, the tests were 100 percent sensitive and 100 percent specific and, in one of the studies, the test managed to identify vCJD prion particles in a blood donation more than a year before the onset of symptoms—a first for prion disease detection.

Source: TheScientist

The Growing Impact of Cardiac Biomarkers in Clinical Chemistry.

Clinical chemistry measurements and calculations take into account an expansive set of analytes that reflect cardiac, liver, kidney, and other biological functions. Several of these discrete analytes are considered biomarkers, defined by Strimbu and Tavel as “a broad subcategory of medical signs [that are] objective indications of medical state observed from outside the patient which can be measured accurately and reproducibly.” In the case of cardiac biomarkers, the most common analytes are creatine kinase (CK), lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), and troponin (TNI). There are pros and cons to using these common chemistry tests as definitive cardiac biomarkers. However, other chemistry analytes and even some non-laboratory tests have been identified as potential cardiac biomarkers. Providing clinicians with accurate and thorough testing is important in contributing to diagnosis and ultimately to positive patient outcomes.

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