WHAT ARE POINT OF CARE TESTS?
In the superyacht environment, where access to traditional laboratory facilities is limited, point of care testing can provide an invaluable tool for both diagnosing and monitoring a wide range of conditions.
In this post, we'll explore the basics of point of care testing, what conditions such tests can diagnose, and how they can confirm the necessity for any further follow-up.
Point of care tests refer to any diagnostic tests that can be performed outside of traditional laboratory settings, often at the point of patient care.
These tests provide medical professionals with rapid results that can guide diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up decisions.
WHAT CONDITIONS CAN THESE TESTS DIAGNOSE?
Point of care testing can diagnose a wide range of conditions, the key categories of these types of tests are:
- Blood chemistry tests which measure various chemicals and electrolytes in the blood, detecting:
- Diabetes (indicated by high blood sugar)
- Kidney Diseases (indicated by high levels of creatinine)
- Liver disease (indicated by high levels of liver enzymes)
- Blood component tests on the other hand, focus on specific components of the blood, such as red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets, detecting:
- Anemia (indicated by low levels of hemoglobin)
- Various infections (indicated by low levels of white blood cells)
- Bleeding disorders (indicated by low levels of platelets)
- PCR & Antigen testing can be used to detect the presence of a wide-range of specific illnesses such as:
- Tropical illnesses
- Respiratory infections
- Sexually transmitted infections
- Gastrointestinal infections
HOW POINT OF CARE TESTING IS AN EFFECTIVE HEALTH STRATEGY FOR SUPERYACHTS
The pandemic introduced point of care testing to many yachts, for example the BOSCH Vivalytic model, a tabletop PCR analyzer (the size of a coffee machine you would have onboard) that is as accurate as many lab-based devices and can test for COVID-19 and a range of other illnesses.
This is only one of a number of devices that can provide lab-quality testing to yachts and in many cases, tests like these can confirm or remove the necessity for further follow-up.
Florescent antigen testing (which are a lot smaller than the Bosch Vivalytic) also offer a wide range of disease testing, complimentary to PCR devices.
CASE STUDY: AT SEA DIAGNOSIS OF MALARIA
- A guest joined the vessel in Italy having spent the previous few weeks on safari in Kenya.
- On the second day onboard, the guest started to feel unwell, rapidly developing a high temperature, profuse sweating and chills.
- MedAire was able to suggest using the point of care technology onboard, which helped them to not only identify that the patient had contracted malaria, but that it was the most serious type of malaria (which causes cerebral malaria).
- Through early diagnosis MedAire were able to evacuate the patient much earlier and quicker to the most appropriate medical facility, specific to that strain of malaria for the necessary follow up care.
AN IMPORTANT TOOL WITHIN REMOTE ENVIRONMENTS
When used correctly, point of care testing is an important tool that can help diagnose a wide range of conditions and provide rapid results that can guide diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up decisions.
To hear more about implementing our Advanced Diagnostics Programme, contact us here.