Blind without in vitro diagnostics
Imagine these three scenarios:
- An elderly patient comes into a hospital emergency room; he is disoriented, dizzy, and almost loses consciousness. The triage nurse checks his medical record and sees that the patient is diabetic and takes insulin; is he experiencing hyper or hypoglycemia? Quickly the nurse takes a drop of blood and uses a blood glucose monitor to identify the patient’s blood glucose level. The strip shows a blood glucose level of 104 indicating that he is not experiencing "hypoglycemia", allowing the nurse to promptly investigate other reasons for the patient’s ill health.
- A patient in an isolated village is suffering from a severe chest pain; is it a heart attack? While waiting for the ambulance, the resident physician performs a troponin test. The quick results of the troponin test allow the physician to confirm the suspected heart attack. With this information the physician directs the ambulance to the most appropriate hospital, providing the patient access to appropriate treatment specifically when “time is gold”.
- A breast cancer patient is received in her physician’s office to consult on possible treatment. The nurse draws blood to identify existence of a specific genome in the patient’s blood. A companion diagnostic test will identify a specific genetic mark up giving concrete answer to the question, “Will the drug do any good?”
In all these three cases, a healthcare professional must prescribe a course of treatment.
Enter In Vitro Diagnostics. From state-of-the-art hospitals in developed countries to resident-run health clinics in limited resource settings, beyond their professional expertise healthcare professionals require in vitro diagnostic(IVDs) tests to make decisions regarding implementation of medical treatment. Rapid tests done on samples such as blood, urine, tissue or stool have helped stave off potential global threats by isolating those infected and monitoring their response to treatment. Recent news reports highlighting global threats such as bird flu in China, H7N9 influenza are controlled thanks to rapid identification by IVDs. Technologies such as blood glucose monitors, near-patient tests developed by the IVD industry, scientists in hospital labs and disease control centres across the globe, continue to provide vital information necessary to monitor the status of diseases once treatment has been carried out.
Without In Vitro Diagnostics we would be blind as their contribution shapes every step of one’s healthcare pathway. To learn more, this week’s featured video on “What are In Vitro Diagnostics?” sheds a much deserved light at this crucial component of healthcare.
This post first appeared on Focus on MedTech. Read the original article.