A new handheld blood test device is able to rapidly diagnosis heart attacks at the point of care. The new Minicare I-20 handheld device, developed by Philips, is designed for use in emergency departments to dramatically reduce the time physicians take to diagnose heart attacks.

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The new device detects proteins in the blood stream following a heart attack, providing results in just 10 minutes.
Image credit: Philips

Using just a single droplet of blood, the device detects proteins present in the blood stream following a heart attack and provides a result in 10 minutes instead of the usual 60-minute wait for lab results.

For patients presenting at emergency departments with chest pains, the device can be used to administer an immediate test, with results delivered while the patient is being assessed and a medical history taken. This reduces the time for the physician to decide on treatment.

Using the device simplifies the patient-doctor interaction and improves the way in which physicians are able to deliver care.

The system works by measuring the level of cardiac troponin I (cTnI), a protein that is excreted by the heart muscle into the blood following a heart attack.

The company has demostrated that it delivers on-the-spot test results comparable with those obtained in a laboratory, enabling the physician to decide on treatment without delay.

Current guidelines for the diagnosis of myocardial infarction require blood test results of the biomarker cardiac troponin for the 90% of patients who present at the emergency department (ED) with chest pain but are not diagnosed by an electrocardiogram (ECG).

“Blood samples are usually analyzed in the hospital laboratory, which can easily take more than an hour to get the result back to the ED physician. Point-of-care testing can significantly help to reduce the turnaround time,” says Dr. Paul Collinson, consultant chemical pathologist at St. George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in the United Kingdom.

For high-risk cardiac patients – such as those with Acute Coronary Syndrome – fast triage and rapid initiation of treatment are critical in order to improve patient outcomes and to save lives. Only 10% of chest pain patients can be diagnosed using an ECG. The rest need to rely on additional cardiac marker testing for the diagnosis of myocardial infarction.

Physicians often have to wait up to 6 hours before it can be decided if they can safely discharge the patients or if they need to admit them into the hospital for further tests. The use of Minicare cTnI supports a reduction of the diagnostic protocol by up to 3 hours.

Minicare I-20 is designed to help care providers to reduce time to treatment and reduce time to discharge of patients, thereby helping to decrease crowding in the emergency department and leading to better use of hospital resources.”

Marcel van Kasteel, CEO of Handheld Diagnostics at Philips

The clinical and analytical performance of the device has been validated during multicenter clinical studies and tested in real life acute care settings within the European project Lab2Go, a consortium of European hospitals. The study showed the potential of the Philips Minicare cTnI to accurately measure cTnI values, near the patient in the emergency department, with a turn around time of less than 10 minutes.

Philips has developed the Minicare I-20 as a multi-purpose point-of-care device, allowing it to perform different blood tests. In March 2015, the company announced a multi-year development agreement with Janssen Pharmaceutica N.V. to develop a handheld blood test for use with neuropsychiatric patients.

Each blood test has dedicated software and a single use, disposable cartridge containing the application-specific test. The technology has been designed to detect multiple target molecules at low concentrations within the same blood sample and to show the results on the device’s display within minutes.

Philips recently gained a CE Mark for the Minicare I-20, which it has begun selling in the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium. The company plans to roll it out elsewhere in Europe. The device is not currently available in the United States.

Learn about other new medical devices.

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