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Hemoglobin Testing at the Point of Care


Since the level of blood oxygenation can be an essential element of patient assessment, measurement of hemoglobin levels in the clinical setting is often desirable. In keeping with the recent trend to incorporate sophisticated technology into easily used point-of-care devices, recent products from several manufacturers offer prompt assessment of hemoglobin values.

HemoCue, Inc., Lake Forest, Calif., says that its HemoCue Hemoglobin Test Systems provide quick, simple and reliable quantitative hemoglobin results with the same performance as a large hematology analyzer. The companys test system options consist of either the B-Hemoglobin Photometer or the more recent Hb 201+ Analyzer and disposable microcuvettes.

The Hb 201+ has an internal electronic self-test. Every time the analyzer is turned on, it will automatically verify the performance of the optronic unit. The test is performed every second hour if the analyzer is on. This new function means that a control cuvette is no longer necessary, although one is still available as an accessory.

The unbreakable, plastic microcuvette collects the exact amount of arterial or venous blood necessary (10 l). The cuvette cavity contains reagents deposited on its inner walls and the blood sample is drawn into the cavity by capillary action and spontaneously mixed with the reagents. The microcuvette is placed into the portable analyzer. The hemoglobin value appears on the display screen in less than a minute. Hb 201 microcuvettes cannot be used in the B-Hemoglobin system and vice versa.

The dual wavelength test procedure corrects for lipemia, leukocytosis and other sources of turbidity. Capillary, venous or arterial blood samples can be used, so transfusion decisions, EPO dosing and anemia screenings can be performed immediately and at the point of care. Both systems are CLIA waived and the B-Hemoglobin photometer is available with data management capabilities.

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