Blood gas analysis is performed on arterial blood samples to evaluate a person’s lung function and acid/base balance. Modern blood gas analyzers are a vast improvement on their earlier counterparts which were complex to use and maintain, and had a higher risk of errors. Current systems vary in size and weight and range from small hand-portable systems to much larger floor devices. Integrated blood gas analyzers can measure pO2, pCO2, pH and other parameters in blood samples quickly and reliably. An important feature of these analyzers is that they need only low volume samples.
Analyzer models that use single-use systems are ‘hand-portable’, easy to transport, and cost-effective analyzers. With multi-use cartridge reagent systems, these units are ideal for medium to high sample throughput. Larger analyzers require minimal maintenance and have reduced downtime.
Point-of-care blood gas analyzers are widely used in laboratories and hospital bedsides where rapid availability of results is critical. POC analyzers help clinicians with an assessment of real-time patient status, resulting in faster therapeutic decisions. Faster results improve patient management and treatment outcomes, reduce length of stay in expensive critical care units, and reduce medication costs. The Abbott i-STAT 1 is a popular model. This revolutionary, handheld analyzer provides reliable results in just minutes, using just two drops of blood and a test cartridge. Using self-contained test cartridges, along with the Precision PCx and PCx Plus glucose test strips, the system delivers lab-accurate testing for Blood Gases, Electrolytes, Chemistries, Coagulation, Hematology, Glucose, and Cardiac Markers (cTnI).
Here are some tips to ensure accurate blood gas analysis:
- Ensure that the analyzer is intended for the sample type
- Collect blood samples using the correct technique and appropriate syringes or capillary tubes
- Carry out blood gas analysis within 30 minutes of sample collection to avoid falsely elevating the pCO2 and decrease pO2 and pH values
- Perform necessary quality control procedures and maintenance
- Ensure all procedures are well documented whilst adhering to infection control protocols
When choosing a blood gas analyzer, consider the Medical Device Alerts issued.
To avoid post-analytical errors with result documentation, labs should also have robust data management systems. Features such as automatic quality control, automatic clot detection and on board diagnostics can help to reduce maintenance requirements and analyzer downtime.