Making transplants work: In Bristol, UK, the Bristol Royal Infirmary uses the Siemens’ Viva-E® Drug Testing System and Dimension® Integrated Chemistry System to monitor the concentration of immunosuppressant drugs (ISDs). The results of such testing are vital to the success of organ transplants. Demand for organ transplants – especially kidneys – outpaces the supply of donated organs worldwide. The body’s natural defences will try to reject the grafted organ and must be overcome using ISDs. While many health facilities are switching to outsourced laboratory services, there are important advantages to doing testing in-house with ISD monitoring: Bristol Royal Infirmary (BRI) is a good example of how well this can work.
Walking the tightrope
Transplant recipients run risks from insufficient ISD concentrations, which may lead to organ rejection, or excessive ones, which can cause infections and cancers. So their blood must regularly be checked for both situations. The Siemens analyzers can do this and offer an alternative to mass spectrometry or chromography. BRI has embraced Siemens technology and as a result has brought ISD monitoring in-house. It was previously carried out externally. This is important, as organ transplant demand continues to grow, given an aging population and medical advances.
Speed and cost
One advantage is that ISD tests can now be done in 30 minutes, compared to a day previously. “With transplants, a 24-hour delay can be enough for rejection of the newly grafted organ,” explains Amy Hayes, Senior Biomedical Scientist. Her boss, Chief Biomedical Scientist Carolyn Perry, describes another key benefit: “I could teach anyone to use the system properly within two hours, whatever their background.” Both the reduced training requirement and the avoidance of charges for external testing are important economic benefits for BRI. Maintenance needs are also minimal and generally covered by a visit from Siemens every four months.