Laboratory medicine

Laboratory medicine

Thursday, May 12, 2016

CLINITEK Atlas Automated Urine Chemistry Analyzer : Benefits

CLINITEK Atlas Automated Urine Chemistry Analyzer (Rack):

The CLINITEK Atlas® Automated Urine Chemistry Analyzer (with rack) is a fully automated, benchtop instrument designed for high-volume urine testing, using Siemens' proven technology in dry-pad urine chemistry analysis.

  • Unique, continuous reagent roll for simplified loading and reduced interruptions
  • Modular design for compatibility with laboratory automation systems
  • Built-in liquid level sensing for simplified sample preparation

True Calibration of All Analytes Provides Confidence in Results
Liquid ready-to use calibration material ensures accuracy
Minimizes lot variability

Easy to Learn and Operate
Menu driven
Simple keypad operation

Built-in Liquid Level Sensing Simplifies Sample Preparation
Adjusts automatically to sample volume
Pour any volume ≥ 2 mL without need for special steps or tubes
Reduces time to prepare samples for testing

Adaptable to Laboratory Automation Systems
Modular design facilitates track readiness

The Rack Sample Handler Offers
Flexibility to accommodate a wide range of testing volumes. Load up to 200 samples at once
Maximum productivity and fewer interruptions, with walkaway time of up to 53 minutes
Easy transfer of sediment analyzer with racks that are compatible with the Sysmex UF-100™ Automated Urine Cell Analyzer


Fig. CLINITEK Atlas Automated Urine Chemistry Analyzer
Picture credit: 
www.healthcare.siemens.com

Blood gas analyzer: RapidLab 1200 systems- Features and benefits

Overview of RAPIDLab 1200 systems :
Designed to maximize turnaround time, RAPIDLab®1200 Systems have the capacity to enhance blood gas testing efficiency in the clinical laboratory by combining testing speed and reliability with low maintenance. RAPIDLab 1200 systems are our proven solution for high-volume critical care testing sites.

Leverage the benefits of RAPIDLab 1200 Systems:
  • Comprehensive test menu addresses a variety of critical care testing needs
  • Intuitive operation and minimal maintenance help increase productivity without increasing staff.
  • Industry-proven accuracy and reliability through long-life Ready Sensor® electrode technology
  • Biosafe automatic sampling system with clot detection and clearance
  • Effortless onboard Automatic Quality Control (AQC) for enhanced quality assurance and regulatory compliance
Features and benefits:

Designed to meet the challenges of the busy clinical lab or various hospital settings, RAPIDLab® 1200 Systems address all your critical care testing needs:

  • Extensive test menu includes full CO-oximetry and neonatal total bilirubin
  • Ready Sensor® electrode technology for industry-proven reliability
  • Cost-effective, cartridge-based system
  • Simplified operation with biosafe sampling
  • Automatic quality control and documentation
  • Seamless integration with your LIS/HIS
  • Dedicated technical support and on-site service

Fig. RAPIDLab 1200 system
Picture credit: 
www.healthcare.siemens.com


Tuesday, May 10, 2016

A day in the life of Staphylococcus aureus: winning essays from Nepal

Nepal’s World Antibiotic Awareness Week essay competition

“When we were assigned the theme of ‘a world without antibiotics’ for the essay competition, the first thing I thought was that a world without antibiotics would be sad and gloomy,” Pranjal Rokaya, fourth year medical student at the Patan Academy of Health Sciences, told CDDEP analyst Molly Miller-Petrie. “But I didn’t want to write a sad story—I wanted to write something happy and satirical, while still getting a strong message across. So I decided to be a happy Staphylococcus bacteria who is overjoyed by the results of irresponsible antibiotic use.”  The diary of his happy Staph took home the first place award at Patan. 

Read the full story below:

"A Staph’s Diary"By Pranjal Rokaya
First place, Patan Academy of Health Sciences
 
Good morning, my name is S. aureus. Full name: Staphylococcus aureus. I am a bacterium that is currently living on your skin, in your nose, in your genitalia, in your mouth and even in the heart of some of you. You might hate me and call me ugly names like “germ” and “bug,” but remember that I still love you. You provide me with food, shelter, a place to regenerate myself, and even a place to excrete my waste products. I would not be in this world if you were not here. I love you, human beings.
 
There are 7 billion humans and you see them everywhere. For every human being, there are billions of us bacteria. But you can't see us - at least not with your naked eye. You humans are very arrogant. You think you control this world with your science and technology. But do you really think you're the master? You have only been in this world for about 5,000 years. That's just a blip in the radar of the timeline of the universe. But we have survived harsh ice ages and volcanic meteors. We saw the dinosaurs’ rise and fall. We saw oceans fade and mountains rise. You know who will survive if there is a nuclear holocaust? That's right, us. Don’t hate us just because you ain’t us.
 
We are not bad beings. Mostly we like to live peacefully in your body. We just take some nutrients from your body to survive. We have a family or colony to feed just like you do. Sometimes you can't produce enough of those bad guys called immune cells. In such cases, we like to migrate deeper into your body because there is more food available inside than in your skin or nose. After we finish our feeding frenzy, we secrete waste into your body, which sadly makes you very hot. When you get a fever, it's difficult for us to survive because we have limited tolerance for high temperatures. You even try to throw us out of your body with repeated coughing, urination and diarrhea. But usually we win and enjoy your body until you die. Everything was going fine, until this poison, this crazy evil thing called antibiotics, came along.
 
Ah! Let's talk about antibiotics. One day, my friend had a wonderful opportunity to go into the blood of a soldier who had a gunshot wound. She was enjoying all the proteins (yummy) when suddenly this penicillin came and started destroying her cell wall. Needless to say, she did not survive as we only have one cell. As if penicillin wasn't enough, you humans started producing more villains like cephalosporins, aminoglycosides and fluoroquinolones. For more than 50 years, we suffered serious calamities at the hands of antibiotics. Initially, they would just destroy our cell wall. Later, they started tearing our DNA apart, destroying our protein and shredding our nucleus. You almost defeated us. But then you humans grew more arrogant and less thoughtful.
 
In your vicious killing spree, you forgot that we can fight back. You started using antibiotics even when we were not really harming you. You forgot that you have your own immune cells to fight us and started bombarding us with same medicine again and again. When tiny viruses tickled your nose and made you sneeze, you used penicillin to fight them. Haha! Are you kidding me? Those tiny viruses don't even have a cell wall. Because of your injudicious use, we found out how your drugs work. We started producing B-lactamase. We developed mechanisms to throw your drugs out of our cells. We even found ways to inactivate those poisons. Slowly, we are becoming resistant and we love it.
Today, most of your antibiotics still work. But we are slowly catching up. There will be a day when none of your poisons will harm us. None will destroy our colonies. Imagine a world without antibiotics. That will be the day we will cry in joy, "Free at last!”
Picture credit: giantmicrobes.com

Monday, May 9, 2016

Thyroid stimulation hormone (TSH) test: indication and interpretation

When to order this TSH test ?

The thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) test is often the test of choice for evaluating thyroid function and/or symptoms of a thyroid disorder, including hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism.
TSH is produced by the pituitary gland, a tiny organ located below the brain and behind the sinus cavities. It is part of the body's feedback system to maintain stable amounts of the thyroid hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) in the blood and to help control the rate at which the body uses energy.
A TSH test is frequently ordered along with or preceding a free T4 test. Other thyroid tests that may be ordered include a free T3 test and thyroid antibodies (if autoimmune-related thyroid disease is suspected). Sometimes TSH, free T4 and free T3 are ordered together as a thyroid panel.

What does the test result mean?

A high TSH result may mean that:
  • The person tested has an underactive thyroid gland that is not responding adequately to the stimulation of TSH due to some type of acute or chronic thyroid dysfunction
  • A person with hypothyroidism or who has had their thyroid gland removed is receiving too little thyroid hormone replacement medication and the dose may need to be adjusted
  • A person with hyperthyroidism is receiving too much anti-thyroid medication and the dose needs adjusting
  • There is a problem with the pituitary gland, such as a tumor producing unregulated levels of TSH
A low TSH result may indicate:
  • An overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism)
  • Excessive amounts of thyroid hormone medication in those who are being treated for an underactive (or removed) thyroid gland
  • Insufficient anti-thyroid medication in a person being treated for hyperthyroidism; however, it may take a while for TSH production to resume after successful anti-thyroid treatment. This is why the American Thyroid Association recommends monitoring this treatment with tests for thyroid hormones (T4 and T3) as well as TSH levels.
  • Damage to the pituitary gland that prevents it from producing adequate amounts of TSH
Whether high or low, an abnormal TSH indicates an excess or deficiency in the amount of thyroid hormone available to the body, but it does not indicate the reason why. An abnormal TSH test result is usually followed by additional testing to investigate the cause of the increase or decrease.
The following table summarizes some examples of typical test results and their potential meaning.
TSH FREE T4FREE OR TOTAL T3PROBABLE INTERPRETATION
HighNormalNormalMild (subclinical) hypothyroidism
HighLowLow or normalHypothyroidism
LowNormalNormalMild (subclinical) hyperthyroidism
LowHigh or normalHigh or normalHyperthyroidism
LowLow or normalLow or normalNon-thyroidal illness; pituitary (secondary) hypothyroidism
NormalHighHighThyroid hormone resistance syndrome (a mutation in the thyroid hormone receptor decreases thyroid hormone function)
Thyroid gland
Picture credit: www.medicinenet.com

free T4 (FT4) test : indication and interpretation

When to order free T4 test ?

Free thyroxine (free T4) tests are used to help evaluate thyroid function and diagnose thyroid diseases, including hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism, usually after discovering that the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) level is abnormal.
T4 and another hormone called triiodothyronine (T3) are produced by the thyroid gland. They help control the rate at which the body uses energy and are regulated by a feedback system. TSH stimulates the production and release of T4 (primarily) and T3 from the thyroid gland.
Most of the T4 and T3 circulates in the blood bound to protein, while a small percentage is free (not bound). Blood tests can measure total T4, free T4, total T3, or free T3. The total T4 test has been used for many years, but it can be affected by the amount of protein available in the blood to bind to the hormone. Free T4 is not affected by protein levels and is the active form of thyroxine. The free T4 test is thought by many to be a more accurate reflection of thyroid hormone function and, in most cases, its use has replaced that of the total T4 test.

What does the test result mean?

In general, high free T4 results may indicate an overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism), and low free T4 results may indicate an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism). The test results alone are not diagnostic but will prompt the health practitioner to perform additional testing to investigate the cause of the excess or deficiency.
Both decreased and increased free T4 results are associated with a variety of temporary and chronic thyroid conditions. Low free T4 results in conjunction with a low TSH level or high free T4 results along with a high TSH may indicate a pituitary gland condition.
Interpretation:
TSHFREE T4FREE OR TOTAL T3PROBABLE INTERPRETATION
HighNormalNormalMild (subclinical) hypothyroidism
HighLowLow or normalHypothyroidism
LowNormalNormalMild (subclinical) hyperthyroidism
LowHigh or normalHigh or normalHyperthyroidism
LowLow or normalLow or normalNon-thyroidal illness; rare pituitary (secondary) hypothyroidism
NormalHighHighThyroid hormone resistance syndrome (a mutation in the thyroid hormone receptor decreases thyroid hormone function)
  A woman does a thyroid neck check in the mirror.
          Picture credit: 
www.medicinenet.com

free T3 test (FT3): indication and interpretation

When to order free T3 test ?

A free T3 or total T3 test may be ordered when someone has an abnormal TSH test result. It may be ordered as part of the investigative workup when a person has symptoms suggesting hyperthyroidism, especially if the free T4 level is not elevated.

Signs and symptoms may include:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Anxiety
  • Weight loss
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Tremors in the hands
  • Weakness
  • Diarrhea (sometimes)
  • Light sensitivity, visual disturbances
  • The eyes may be affected: puffiness around the eyes, dryness, irritation, and, in some cases, bulging of the eyes.
Free or total T3 may sometimes be ordered at intervals to monitor a known thyroid condition and to help monitor the effectiveness of treatment for hyperthyroidism.

What does the test result mean?


Increased or decreased thyroid hormone results indicate that there is an imbalance between the body's requirements and supply, but they do not tell the health practitioner specifically what is causing the excess or deficiency.
The following table summarizes some examples of typical test results and their potential meaning.
TSHFREE T4FREE OR TOTAL T3PROBABLE INTERPRETATION
HighNormalNormalMild (subclinical) hypothyroidism
HighLowLow or normalHypothyroidism
LowNormalNormalMild (subclinical) hyperthyroidism
LowHigh or normalHigh or normalHyperthyroidism
LowLow or normalLow or normalNon-thyroidal illness; rare pituitary (secondary) hypothyroidism
NormalHighHighThyroid hormone resistance syndrome (a mutation in the thyroid hormone receptor decreases thyroid hormone function)
If someone is being treated with anti-thyroid medication for hyperthyroidism and the free or total T3 (or more frequently, the free T4 or TSH) is normal, then it is likely that the medication is effective in treating the condition. If the free or total T3 or free T4 is elevated, then the medication is not effective in treating the condition and the person may be experiencing symptoms associated with hyperthyroidism.
Picture credit: Fashion Magazine 

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Drew DS 360 : HbA1c measurement

The Drew DS360 is intended for the measurement of glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) in blood samples.

The Drew DS360 is intended for the measurement of glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) in blood samples.  The system’s high throughput and automated primary tube sampling, low maintenance, easy to use interface and full color touch screen makes this an ideal addition for the main laboratory, clinic or satellite laboratory settings.

  • Reference method of ion-exchange HPLC
  • HbA1c results in 3.5 minutes
  • Immediate labile fraction removal with no need for external incubation
  • Simple to use with full color touch screen
  • 36 position auto sampler
  • Detects presence of HbS, HbC and HbD
  • Optimized to minimize interference from carbamylation, lipemia and labile A1C

Fig. Drew DS360 for measurement of HbA1c
Picture credit: 
www.medstom-nn.ru


Erba Elite 5: Hematology analyzer

Erba Elite 5: Product description

The Erba Elite 5 is an advanced 5 part differential analyser with 24 parameters.

The Erba Elite 5 is an advanced 5 part differential analyzer with 24 parameters. It is a compact system that features the power of advanced diode based laser technology and hydrodynamic focusing.
  • 24 parameters with 2 scatter-grams & 2 histograms
  • 60 tests / hour
  • Electrical impedance method and advanced SRV technology
  • Unique ZAP technology with each analysis cycle
  • Open and close tube system with automatic sample rotor
  • Multiple choice of languages
  • Optional auto sampler
  • Low-maintenance needed
  • User-friendly software, connectable to LIS

Fig. Erba Elite 5 Hematology analyzer




Erba XL 1000 : Automated clinical chemistry analyzer

Erba XL 1000 : Product description

Automated High Throughput Random Access Analyzer, it offers continuous sample loading facility using racks.

Automated high throughput random access analyzer, it offers continuous sample loading facility using racks. Contrary to other automatic analyzers, the sample loading is automatic instead of manual thereby enhancing precision.

  • Throughput of upto 1040 tests/hour with ISE- 800 photometric tests/ hr and 240 tests/ hr with ISE
  • Permanent hard glass cuvettes – requiring no replacement for upto 4-5 years
  • Direct ISE measurement for Na/K/Cl/Li (optional)
  • Auto re-run, auto dilution, reflex testing
  • Probes with clot detection & Vertical Obstruction Detection feature
  • Low reagent/test consumption -requires reagent volume of just 150 µL, thereby proving to be cost effective for laboratories
  • Extensive Quality Control menu  (L-J chart, twin plot, QC rules)

Fig. Erba XL-1000 system
Photo credit: erbamannheim.com

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

VITROS® 350 Chemistry System: VITROS® MicroSlide Technology

VITROS® MicroSlide Technology

High-quality results, minimal operator interventions, exceptional ease of use and 95% reportable result efficiency with innovative layered dry slide technology

Providing fast, accurate results is a necessity—even for small labs—with growing pressure to reduce errors and cut costs in the midst of increased demands and significant staffing shortages. The VITROS® 350 System is a compact chemistry system designed to be efficient, dependable, and, above all, easy to use as a primary, STAT, or backup system.

VITROS® MicroSlide Technology is one of the 5 enabling technologies that power the transformational performance of our VITROS® diagnostic instruments in labs around the world.

Working priniciple:

VITROS® MicroSlide Technology offers an entire integrated test environment on a thin piece of film. Spreading, masking, scavenger, and reagent layers are discretely combined on one postage-stamp-sized slide to produce first-class precision and accuracy. When plasma, serum, urine, or cerebrospinal fluid come into contact with these dry chemical layers, a spectral reaction occurs, which can be measured by the system. This layered dry slide technology enables separate reaction domains—maximizing each step for exceptional assay performance.


Fig. VITROS® 350 Chemistry System
Picture credit: www.lshospital.zj.cn


DCA Vantage Analyzer: Features and benefit

DCA Vantage Analyzer

Drive diabetic patient compliance with trusted, clinically proven results

One system does it all. Detect* and manage diabetes with HbA1c or diagnose early kidney disease with albumin:creatinine ratio (A:C) testing using Siemens Healthcare's DCA Vantage® Analyzer. No sample or reagent preparation is required.
  • Add a 1µL fingerstick sample for HbA1c or a 40 µL urine sample for A:C to applicable test cartridge.
  • Scan test cartridge barcode.
  • Load cartridge into analyzer.
  • The analyzer does the rest.
Results are generated in minutes allowing for immediate consultation during the patient visit.

Monitor glycemic control and diabetes complications using an analyzer designed to make consultations easier. Fast, actionable test results enable you to determine the effectiveness of a treatment plan, make therapeutic adjustments with confidence, and be more certain whether patients are complying with your recommendations. 
 

Monitor glycemic control
  • HbA1c from a small (1 µL) whole blood sample in 6 minutes
  • Flexible reporting of HbA1c% (NGSP, JDS, and Mono-S units) and IFCC (mmol/mol)
  • Reporting of HbA1c results as Estimated Average Glucose values* in the same units (mg/dL) that patients’ home glucose meters display
  • HbA1c patient trending graphs can be viewed or printed

Detect early kidney disease
  • Albumin, Creatinine, and Albumin-to-Creatinine (A:C) ratio from a urine specimen in 7 minutes to report a quantitative protein status with automatic creatinine adjustment
  • Onboard GFR calculator indexes kidney function

Improve workflow in the office or clinic
  • Self-contained cartridges facilitate easy, walkaway operation after sample loading
  • No sample or reagent preparation required
  • Bar-code scanner for safer and faster patient/operator ID entry
  • Review results on-screen or generate a hard copy report to minimize transcription errors in the office
  • Convenient local storage of up to 4,000 onboard records with powerful sorting capabilities
  • Automatically upload results to a PC via a USB flash drive to reduce manual logging and save time
  • Minimal maintenance requirements with automatic reminders to alert you when maintenance is due


Fig. DCA vantage barcode
Credit: www.healthcare.siemens.com

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Biomedical Engineer: Job and career guide

How to Become a Biomedical Engineer: Career Path Guide

If you want to become a biomedical engineer, you first need to determine if this career path is a good fit for you. If the following description sounds like you, then you’re probably well suited for a career as a biomedical engineer:

Those who become biomedical engineers typically have a keen interest in science, medicine and engineering. Becoming a biomedical engineer requires the ability to visualize complex processes, as well as excellent hand-eye coordination in order to work with specialized instrumentation.

A career as a biomedical engineer requires one to have excellent communication skills and an excellent attitude towards working with others. Biomedical engineers must also be extremely patient and persistent individuals, as the desired results of their work may not present themselves in a timely manner.

Below we've outlined what you'll need to begin a career as a biomedical engineer. We've also included helpful information for this career, such as job description, job duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employers and much more!

Biomedical Engineer Job Description

Biomedical engineers are responsible for designing, developing and evaluating biological health systems and products, such as artificial organs, prostheses, instrumentation medical information systems and health care delivery systems. In order to effectively execute all functions of their jobs, biomedical engineers must apply knowledge of engineering, biology and biomechanical principles.

Biomedical Engineer Job Duties

• Confer with life scientists, chemists and medical scientists regarding the engineering aspects of the biological systems of animals and humans
• Design and develop equipment and technology to assist people with physical disabilities
• Maintain documentation relating to the service histories of biomedical equipment
• Use signal processing techniques to diagnose and interpret bioelectric data
• Evaluate certain aspects of biomedical equipment, such as safety and efficiency
• Advise and assist in the application of instrumentation in clinical environments
• Design and develop medical diagnostic and clinical instrumentation, equipment, and procedures


Photo credit: engineering-computer-science.wright.edu

Cell biologist: job, responsibility and career guide

How to Become a Cell Biologist: Career Guide

The earlier you can start preparing to become a cell biologist, the better. Planning out your career path while you are still in high school is a great idea if you can pull it off, but if you can’t it’s not a big deal, as there are many things you can do as a university or college student to get a head start on becoming a cell biologist.

How to make cell biology career preparations in high school


Taking courses in math, biology, physics and chemistry is a great way to get a head start on becoming a cell biologist. These courses will give you a solid understanding of the scientific principles applicable to cell biology.

Learn what cell biologists do: Speaking with cell biologists and related scientists can give you a great idea of what it’s like to work in a cell biology career. You can also speak with professionals in related occupations, such as doctors, dentists, pharmacists and veterinarians in order to gain an idea of what other careers in science are like.

Choose a university or college to attend: Deciding where to go to college and what to study is a daunting and thorough task. Make it a little easier on yourself by talking to your school’s guidance counselor. They will be able to help you find schools that suit your professional ambitions and interests, as well as provide you with tips on which programs will be of interest to you.

Get a summer job: Getting a summer job, internship or volunteer experience in a laboratory, medical office, veterinarian’s office or in a similar setting as a high school student can be great exposure to what scientific professionals do.

Education Needed to Become a Cell Biologist

To become a cell biologist, you need to begin by earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology or a closely related field such as Botany or Biochemistry. Completing coursework in biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics, as well as extensive courses about cells, is a great way to build an educational foundation for your prospective career as a cell biologist. Depending on where your career ambitions and interests lie, you will likely need a graduate degree in cell biology to become a cell biologist.

Depending on the requirements of the employer, a Master’s degree in Cell Biology is typically sufficient for many applied research positions. To become a cell biologist who works in research and university teaching positions a PhD in Cell Biology is needed. Cell biologists must also complete continuing education throughout their careers in order to keep their skills current stay up to date with advancements in the field.


Photo credit: www.western.edu


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