Use of a rapid arterial blood gas analyzer to estimate blood hemoglobin concentration among critically ill adultsReport as inadecuate

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Critical Care

, 6:72

First Online: 19 November 2001Received: 05 October 2001Accepted: 24 October 2001


ObjectiveTo evaluate whether measurement of the hemoglobin Hb concentration with a blood gas analyzer approximates that determined by a conventional coulter counter in critically ill adults.

DesignProspective patient series.

SettingA 32-bed cardiovascular, neurosurgical, trauma and medical-surgical intensive care unit in a single Canadian center.

PatientsWe consecutively recruited 202 critically ill adults, the majority of whom had recent cardiac or vascular surgery, neurosurgery or trauma.

MeasurementsThe nurse obtained a single arterial blood sample within a few hours of the patient-s admission to the intensive care unit. The Hb concentration was determined from each blood sample in a masked fashion, using both a blood gas analyzer and a conventional laboratory coulter counter.

Main resultsA total of 202 consecutive paired analyses were conducted. There was a highly significant correlation between the coulter counter and blood gas analyzer methods of Hb measurement r = 0.98, 95% confidence interval CI = 0.97–0.99; P < 0.0001. Using the method of Bland and Altman, the overall mean difference in Hb concentration between the coulter counter and the blood gas analyzer was -4.3 g-l 95% CI = -11.0 to 2.4. Of the 11 5.4% Hb measurements that extended beyond the upper and lower 95% CI, 10 5.0% were within ± 3 g-l of these confidence limits.

ConclusionsAn arterial blood gas analyzer may provide a valid alternative method to the traditional coulter counter for the rapid assessment of Hb concentration among critically ill adults. Since issues related to its safety, quality control, data entry and cost savings have yet to be addressed, however, use of such point of care testing should be viewed as a supplement to conventional laboratory testing.

Keywordsarterial blood gas coulter counter critical care hemoglobin concentration intensive care unit AbbreviationsABG= arterial blood gas

CI= confidence interval

Hb= hemoglobin

ICU= intensive care unit.

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Author: Joel G Ray - Julia R Post - Cindy Hamielec


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