Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Perfecting intensive care laboratory techniques

It is imperative that critically ill patients be carefully and continuously monitored so as to assist in their recovery process. Measuring blood volume is one of the many tests involved in this sustained monitoring, and a group of researchers from the United Kingdom created a new technique that calculates blood volume in a non-invasive, frequently repeatable manner that utilises already-existing standard hospital laboratory equipment.
Perfecting intensive care laboratory techniques
Traditional blood volume measurement practices exhibited many problems and disadvantages. The established method entailed radiolabelling red blood cells for an in vivo dilution assay. Radiolabelling consists of using a radioactive isotope, or trace, to "tag" a substance in the blood. This conventional technique is not only invasive and stressful for the patient, it also must take place in special radio-isotope facilities.

In response, this research group designed a completely new way of testing blood volume in critically ill patients who require ventilator support. This innovative technique utilises a modified ventilator to introduce a small amount of carbon monoxide into the air stream. Then, after 15 minutes, total blood volume can be measured by calculating the blood carbon monoxide level.

There are many advantages inherent in this innovation. Firstly, testing can occur frequently. Secondly, this technique is non-invasive and does not distress the patient. It is important to note that standard hospital laboratory facilities provide the necessary equipment, thus eliminating the need for specialised apparatus. In fact, this innovation could benefit both doctors and patients.
Follow us on: RSS Facebook Twitter YouTube Managed by the EU Publications Office Top