Clinical laboratories are significant contributors to the environmental burden of the planet. They have been slow to address the issues with a few exceptions, but it is highly encouraging to see the current impetus and ambition in this direction. This paper describes some of these initiatives and provides the rationale as to why clinical laboratories should become sustainable. It also describes the economic and intangible benefits that labs will accrue in achieving sustainability.
Introduction Recently, an expert consensus on optimal use of procalcitonin (PCT)-guided antibiotic stewardship was published focusing mainly on Europe and the United States. However, for Asia-Pacific countries, recommendations may need adaptation due to differences in types of infections, available resources and standard of clinical care. Methods Practical experience with PCT-guided antibiotic stewardship was discussed among experts from different countries, reflecting on the applicability of the proposed Berlin consensus algorithms for Asia-Pacific. Using a Delphi process, the group reached consensus on two PCT algorithms for the critically ill and the non-critically ill patient populations. Results The group agreed that the existing evidence for PCT-guided antibiotic stewardship in patients with acute respiratory infections and sepsis is generally valid also for Asia-Pacific countries, in regard to proposed PCT cut-offs, emphasis on diagnosis, prognosis and antibiotic stewardship, overruling criteria and inevitable adaptations to clinical settings. However, the group noted an insufficient database on patients with tropical diseases currently limiting the clinical utility in these patients. Also, due to lower resource availabilities, biomarker levels may be measured less frequently and only when changes in treatment are highly likely. Conclusions Use of PCT to guide antibiotic stewardship in conjunction with continuous education and regular feedback to all stakeholders has high potential to improve the utilization of antibiotic treatment also in Asia-Pacific countries. However, there is need for adaptations of existing algorithms due to differences in types of infections and routine clinical care. Further research is needed to understand the optimal use of PCT in patients with tropical diseases.
Experimental data indicate that destructive oxidative events reach their peak within the first 24 h after trauma in head injury (HI) and that brain damage occurring due to this impact can be the cause of death or irreversible permanent disabilities in affected patients.
Oxidative stress is said to strongly influence the neurological recovery of patients following a severe head injury. Estimation of the markers of oxidative stress in the blood of such patients can hence aid in predicting the prognosis of head injury.
The concentration of homocysteine (Hcy) rises rapidly after the collection of blood. This feature requires blood to be collected into the anticoagulants EDTA or heparin and the plasma to then be immediately separated; alternatively, the blood may be kept on ice and centrifuged within 1 hour. The use of chemical preservatives has been proposed as a means of stabilising Hcy levels in whole blood after collection. The objective of this study was to determine whether the commonly available fluoride-oxalate (Fl-Ox) and sodium citrate (Na-Cit) containers could stabilise Hcy levels in blood. Our results showed that when blood was collected into potassium EDTA (K-EDTA) tubes, Hcy levels rose from initial levels, on standing at room temperature (approximately 25 degrees C), by an average of 21% after 3 hours and 32% after 5 hours. The initial Hcy levels of blood collected into Fl-Ox and Na-Cit containers, however, were lower, at averages of 89% and 91%, respectively, compared to that of the same samples when collected into K-EDTA tubes. Hcy in these samples subsequently rose on standing, and after 5 hours was, on the average, 10 and 13% higher, respectively, compared with the initial levels in K-EDTA tubes. We conclude that Fl-Ox and Na-Cit do not stabilise Hcy in blood after collection and should not be used as preservatives.
Serum human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) and estradiol levels are higher in women with hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) than in unaffected pregnant controls. We postulated that higher levels of these hormones may be associated with clinically more severe HG. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of maternal hCG and estradiol levels on the severity of HG.
It has been suggested that potassium concentrations may vary between different geographical regions, possibly reflecting ethnic differences in potassium status. This study compared the serum potassium concentrations of three Asian ethnicities in a single geographical location.
Measurement of serum free light chains (FLCs) has recently become available for the diagnosis and monitoring of patients with plasma cell dyscrasias. The aim of this study was to investigate the performance of the serum FLC assay as a tumour marker by comparing FLC concentrations with serum protein electrophoresis (PE) results in the diagnosis of multiple myeloma (MM). In addition, we also evaluated the prognostic value of the baseline serum FLC ratio in patients with MM.