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Bloodless blood tests now a reality

by Barbara Kram, Editor | August 24, 2010
Masimo spot-check
hemoglobin tester
Testing hemoglobin provides one of the most critically needed values in the hospital as well as doctors' office settings. Masimo, a company based in Irvine, Calif. is planning to change hemoglobin testing as we know it with its Masimo Pronto-7 bloodless hemoglobin testing solution. The FDA-cleared spot-check device looks like a pulse oximeter using a painless finger probe. But in addition to SpO2 (oxygen saturation), pulse rate, and perfusion index, the new, palm-sized unit reads out hemoglobin levels in less than one minute. Applications include clinics, blood donation centers, emergency medical services, and long-term acute care settings, as well as doctors' offices and hospitals.

Hemoglobin is one of the most commonly ordered tests in both hospital and non-hospital settings because it is critical to assessing anemia and blood loss. However, traditional lab testing requires a painful needle stick for the patient, time-consuming blood draws for the clinician, and typically provides delayed results. The hand-held Pronto-7 puts the power of noninvasive hemoglobin spot-check testing into any clinician's hands in almost any environment, without the needles, time-consuming laboratory analysis, risk of blood contamination, hazardous medical waste, and patient discomfort associated with traditional blood tests.

It is easy to picture an ER patient presenting with abdominal pain. But is he or she bleeding internally? Instead of waiting an unknown length of time for labs, physicians can get immediate hemoglobin levels to inform their next steps in diagnosis or intervention. The metric is also important in general practice.

"Noninvasive hemoglobin testing at the point-of-care offers a giant leap forward in our ability to tackle the global burden of anemia. Although it is a common blood disorder, it is grossly under-tested and under-diagnosed. And, if left untreated, anemia has a variety of serious health consequences and complications," said Aryeh Shander, M.D., President-Elect of the Society for the Advancement of Blood Management (SABM) and the Executive Medical Director for The Institute for Patient Blood Management & Bloodless Medicine and Surgery at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center in Englewood, New Jersey. "The beauty of immediate, noninvasive hemoglobin testing is that it will allow more patients to be assessed, so their physician can determine additional test options and initiate potentially life-saving treatment."

In addition to the spot-check Pronto-7, Masimo also makes a continuous hemoglobin measurement device, the Radical-7, that hospitals have been using in the OR, ICU, EDs, and post-surgical general floors for about a year. The Pronto-7 is also currently in Limited Market Release internationally in Europe, Asia, Canada, Australia, and South America.