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Hospital introduces Phillips Minicare cTnI point of care blood test for suspected heart attack patients

Elkerliek Hospital and Royal Philips, a leader in HealthTech, today announced their collaboration to pioneer the use of point-of-care testing in the hospital’s dedicated cardiac emergency department.  As a key part of the collaboration, Philips’ CE marked cardiac troponin I (cTnI) blood test for the rapid diagnosis of heart attack, which is based on the company’s Minicare I-20 handheld diagnostics platform, will be used to provide test results within 10 minutes using only a single ‘finger-prick’ drop of blood. 

Cardiac troponin testing in the hospital is currently performed in a central laboratory, and it can take up to an hour before the results are available. However, for high-risk Acute Coronary Syndrome (ACS) patients, fast triage and rapid initiation of treatment are critical to improving patient outcomes and potentially saving lives. The introduction of a rapid diagnostic protocol based on the Philips Minicare cTnI test is expected to reduce the time-to-diagnosis and time-to-treatment, reducing crowding in the emergency department by minimizing the length of stay.

The new diagnostic protocol, which requires the clinical team to adopt a new way of working as of this month, is the direct result of an initiative between the Elkerliek Hospital’s Cardiac Care Unit (CCU) and its central hospital laboratory to improve the cardiac diagnostic pathway for those with suspected heart attacks.

“For patients presenting with suspected heart attack, being able to test levels of the troponin cardiac marker at their bedside in the CCU is expected to significantly improve the whole diagnosis process,” said Dr. Christian Schoenmakers, clinical pathologist and director of the Elkerliek Hospital laboratory. “For the first time, point-of-care testing will be used in the hospital’s CCU to deliver lab comparable test results alongside the patient, reducing the time needed to decide on treatment.”  

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Commenting on the new protocol, Dr. Frans van Asperdt, cardiologist and head of the Elkerliek Hospital CCU, added: “We are introducing a truly innovative way of working in the interest of the patients. The advantage of Minicare cTnI is not only that we will be able to discharge the majority of patients more quickly, but it enables us to direct other patients to the catheterization laboratory at least 30 minutes sooner than before, enabling us to start treatment more quickly. The use of the Minicare I-20 handheld device as part of the diagnostic pathway is expected to speed up this waiting time.  This will free up CCU beds and further reduce pressure on our busy CCU and emergency department.”

“It is a privilege to work with such an innovative European hospital,” said Marcel van Kasteel, CEO of Philips Handheld Diagnostics. “Elkerliek Hospital’s central laboratory and cardiac emergency department have collaborated for several months to create a new way of working to improve the ACS pathway, and we are delighted that they chose our Minicare I-20 handheld diagnostics platform to put their ideas into practice.”

Based on Philips’ proprietary biosensor technology, the Minicare I-20 handheld diagnostics platform is designed to detect multiple target molecules at very low concentrations in a single ‘finger-prick’ blood sample, and display the results on a handheld analyzer within minutes.

Minicare I-20 is simple and easy to use by non-laboratory staff. The analyzer’s in-built connectivity allows direct transfer of the data to laboratory and hospital information systems to update patient files, while integrated calibration and fail-safe functionalities ensure the robustness and accuracy needed for confident on-the-spot decision making.