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Urinalysis Analyzers: Large Capabilities in Every Size Device

Urine chemistry analysis, often conducted in a physicians office practice, can be instrumental in the detection of a wide array of ailments; UTIs, diabetes, several cancers, metabolic disorders, cardiovascular and kidney diseases. The estimated global market for urinalysis tests is well in excess of $600 million per year and is growing strongly. For such a fundamental, extensive and economically significant clinical procedure, the manufacturers of urinalysis analyzers comprise a surprisingly small group. Here are some of the latest innovations in this field.

Among urinalysis products from Roche Diagnostics, a division of F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd., Basle, Switzerland, the Chemstrip 101 Analyzer is the firms smallest, compact analyzer for one-at-a-time test strip evaluation. This product features easy operation, and accommodates approximately 50 tests per hour (a measurement cycle of measurement cycle of 70 seconds).

Flexible software options make the Chemstrip 101 Analyzer suitable for smaller-scale laboratories and physicians' offices seeking a cost-effective way to improve standardization of urinalysis measurement.

The analyzer reads the urine test strips under standardized conditions at three wavelengths, saves the results to memory and outputs them via its own built-in printer and/or serial (RS 232) interface. Up to 100 results can be stored in memory for several print options. In strongly alkaline urine samples, the device automatically corrects the results of the specific gravity test. An optional barcode reader enables easy, reliable patient identification.

PocketChem UA from Thermo Electron Corporation, Waltham, Mass., is the first hand-held urine analyzer on the market. This device is also appropriate for the physician office or small clinic. PocketChem UA is designed for use with ARKRAY Aution Sticks 10TA for urinalysis. It is designed to perform self-calibration on every run, corrects for ambient temperature and urine color, a 100-test memory. The device tests for GLU, KET, BIL, URO, pH, PRO, BLD, LEU, SG, and NT.

The PocketChem has a throughput of 60 strips per hour and a memory capacity of 100 test results, which may be downloaded to a PC. Patient identification may be entered with the integrated keypad, along with a secondary number that can be used sequentially or adjusted to be the instrument, location or operator identification. List price for the PocketChem is $625.

Hypoguard USA, Inc., Edina, Minn., a division of British firm Medisys, manufactures the DiaScreen 50 Urine Chemistry Analyzer, designed for use with DiaScreen Reagent Strips for Urinalysis. The analyzer handles 50 strips per hour and has a memory capacity of 200 test results, which may be downloaded to a computer system. The DiaScreen 50 produces an easy-to-read printout and minimizes variability in results between operators. Patient identification may be entered with the standard keypad or with a barcode reader or keyboard.

DiaScreen Reagent Strips for Urinalysis screen for numerous health conditions and are available in fifteen different configurations with up to ten analytes per strip. The DiaScreen 50 may be used with DiaScreen Reagent Strips for Urinalysis with 3 or more analytes per strip.

Bayer HealthCare LLC, Tarrytown, N.Y., a division of the German health care giant, has been a leader in this diagnostic field for many years. The firm developed the first in vitro diagnostic kit, CLINITEST Reagent Tablets, in 1941, and the first dip-and-read test for glucose, CLINISTIX Reagent Strips, in 1956.

Bayer currently produces a family of urinalysis products including several models of high volume analyzers suitable for clinical laboratory applications.

Bayers Clinitek 500 Urine Chemistry Analyzer features immediate startup, with no warm-up cycle or manual calibration routine. Throughput of seven seconds per sample boosts laboratory productivity in a high-volum e environment. The device features a large display with touch-sensitive action. Two sieve functionsconfirmatory and microscopicflag abnormal results for quick review.

A handheld bar-code reader identifies sample, color and clarity values, minimizing errors. Memory stores 500 patient results for convenient data retrieval and 200 control results for regulatory documentation. An easily replaceable Program Card updates software. Flexible reporting options include visual display, printout or uploading to laboratory information system.

The Clinitek uses Bayers MULTISTIX 10 SG Reagent Strips, which include combinations of traditional urinalysis tests along with two new, proprietary dip-and-read tests: Protein Low (Albumin) and Creatinine. A semi-quantitative Protein-to-Creatinine ratio result is automatically calculated by Clinitek analyzers in just one minute, and a simple lookup table is provided for the visual reader to obtain the ratio result. The new Multistix PRO products generate more reliable results at the trace protein level than competitive products, and provide Protein-to-Creatinine ratio results, which correct for varying urine concentrations.

Automated urinalysis improves the reliability of this critical area of diagnostic testing. Automated analyzers can largely eliminate both the variability of subjective visual color interpretation of reagent dipsticks and transcription errors associated with manual data entry. Moreover, with a wide range of testing capacities, sizes and prices, these devices are highly practical for nearly any clinical setting.

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