Southampton researchers have demonstrated a safer and faster way of taking arterial blood gas samples from patients in intensive care units.
The study, led by critical care nurse researcher Kay Mitchell, used a Point-of-Care device that accelerates the process and reduces time away from patients.
The findings show intensive care units could significantly benefit from the device. The full results have been published in the Journal of Intensive Care Society
Standard remote analysis
Arterial blood gas (ABG) sampling and analysis is carried out routinely in intensive care units (ICUs).
Typically, a nurse at the bedside takes blood from the patient through a small catheter that is directly inserted into the body. The blood sample is injected into an ABG machine located within or close to the ICU for analysis.
For safety, a staff member is required to observe the patient while the nurse leaves to perform this blood analysis.
Sampling is increased in patients with more severe illness, requiring more frequent absence from the patient’s bedside.
Sampling the new system
The Proxima POC device allows blood gas to be analysed at the bedside.
Researchers recruited patients scheduled for non-complex elective cardiac surgery at University Hospital Southampton.
Participants were allocated into groups; either ABG sampling using the Proxima machine or the standard ABG system.
Results showed that ABG sampling using the new machine took one minute and 35 seconds, which is shorter than the standard blood gas technique.
The nurses taking the Proxima samples were also only trained in using the system at the beginning of their shift, which means the time could even be further reduced with more experience.
Safer and faster
The study found that nurses needed to be away from the bedspace for over three minutes on average to analyse samples using the current system.
This strain on ICU resources is compounded by a second person being needed to observe the patient during this time.
Kay Mitchell, of the NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre, says: “The cumulative benefits of improving this process may be significant in sicker patients requiring more frequent sampling. We are constantly striving to improve patient care and it is vitally important that we trial safer and faster ways of working that can reduce pressure on our ICUs.”