Masimo touts blood-monitoring trial

by Brendon Nafziger, DOTmed News Associate Editor | October 19, 2010
Radical-7 with
blood count highlighted.
Device maker Masimo is touting the results of a trial showing its real-time blood-monitoring tool can cut the number of transfusions by almost 86 percent.

In data shared Monday at the American Society of Anesthesiologists Annual Meeting in San Diego, the Irvine, Calif.-based company said its Radical-7 pulse oximeter equipped with continuous hemoglobin monitoring sensors can help anesthesiologists know whether a patient's blood count is critical without having to wait for lab reports.

"Our study has demonstrated that SpHb monitoring clearly changes clinician behavior and results in lower intraoperative blood transfusion rates and lower overall blood utilization," lead researcher Dr. Jesse M. Ehrenfeld, director of the Center for Evidence Based Anesthesia at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, said in a statement.

In the study that looked at 327 patients, around seven patients received a transfusion in the standard care group, but only one in the group using the blood-monitoring system. The amount of blood transfused also dropped 90 percent, from 15 units in the standard group to two units in the group with the Masimo device.

Making sure blood transfusions are performed only when necessary could help lower complications from transfusions, the company said. Although they save lives, transfusions also carry risks of serious immune reactions.

"Blood is not as innocuous as we thought," Dr. John Dombrowski, who sits on the board of the ASA, told DOTmed News.

"No matter if they have a good match," he said, "it's still a foreign substance."

The immunosuppressive effects can lead to cancer recurrence after cancer surgery and also result in infections, he said.

While patients mostly worry about picking up a deadly virus after receiving contaminated blood, Dombrowski said the chances were extremely remote - fewer than one in 2.3 million patients get infected with HIV through transfusion. But having an immune reaction is more common, if still rare, he said, with recent British studies suggesting chances are between one in 15,000 to one in 30,000.