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When life hangs by a fragile thread

Blood gas analysis is an important diagnostic tool for measuring blood oxygenation in acute and severe illness. Oxygenation can quickly deteriorate and emergency treatment must be initiated to save the patient’s life – every minute counts.

Lena Holmqvist, Sales Manager for the Blood Gas business area at Triolab AB and Johan Brynnel, Group Manager for blood gas services at Triolab AB.

In 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, healthcare systems worldwide began to demand an increased number of blood gas instruments. The Danish company Radiometer Medical ApS developed the world's first blood gas instrument and has been a world leader in the field ever since. AddLife’s subsidiary Triolab Group, which is Radiometer's distributor in Sweden, Norway and Finland, deployed all available resources to help its customers as quickly as possible and to meet the high demand for instruments.

"It was unreal, orders and requests were pouring in and we felt the enormous desperation in the healthcare sector, when people's lives were at stake," says Lena Holmqvist, Sales Manager for the Blood Gas business area at Triolab AB.

Blood – almost synonymous with life – tells us almost everything about how we feel, and blood gas analysis is key for triaging patients in emergency departments. Blood oxygen and carbon dioxide levels, pH and acid-base balance are vital parameters. Intensive care staff receive continuous feedback about the patient’s condition, even though patients are usually sedated. The patient’s condition can deteriorate rapidly and is therefore checked many times a day. Monitoring with safe and rapid diagnostics leads to reduced patient suffering, shorter hospital stays and lower costs to society.

The need for blood gas analysis has risen sharply during the pandemic, though use has been on the rise for a long time. The instruments have continually undergone further development and their applications have been broadened. Blood gas is also analysed for diagnostic purposes in other healthcare settings, since it provides valuable information on electrolyte balance, glucose, lactate, creatinine and Hgb variables.

Lena Holmqvist from Triolab says: "Twenty years ago, we had 140 blood gas instruments out there, mainly in intensive care units and laboratories. Today, we have nearly 500 instruments in emergency departments, operating theatres, paediatric wards, cardiac care, labour and delivery, cancer wards, maternity wards and pulmonary wards. The instruments are also used in forensic medicine."

A service agreement is signed for each instrument, which means that we carry out preventive maintenance and provide technical service for the lifetime of the instrument.

"For the customer, it’s extremely important that the instruments maintain high precision around the clock. Our service technicians are an important resource and support for the staff using the instruments," says Johan Brynnel, Group Manager for blood gas services at Triolab.

"I hope we will never experience another pandemic. It's been a tough year with a lot of stress, but it's very encouraging and important that we can contribute to the great work that healthcare professionals do to save people's lives," says Lena Holmqvist at Triolab AB.

 

Facts 

  • Radiometer Medical ApS developed the world's first blood gas instrument in 1954 and has been a world leader in the field ever since.
  • AddLife's subsidiary Triolab Group is Radiometer's distributor in Sweden, Norway and Finland.
  • Blood gas analysis is central to the care of critically ill COVID-19 patients.

 

Blood gases

pH/blood gas:

  • pH (degree of acidity or alkalinity)
  • pCO2 (partial pressure of carbon dioxide)
  • pO2 (partial pressure of oxygen)

Oximetry:

  • ctHb (total haemoglobin concentration)
  • sO2 (oxygen saturation)
  • FCOHb (fraction of carboxyhaemoglobin in total haemoglobin)
  • FMetHb (fraction of methaemoglobin in total haemoglobin)

Electrolytes:

  • cK+ (potassium ion concentration)
  • cNa+ (sodium ion concentration)
  • cCa2+ (calcium ion concentration)
  • cCl- (chloride ion concentration)

Metabolites:

  • cGlu (D-glucose concentration)
  • cLac (L(+) lactate concentration)
  • cCrea (creatinine concentration)