Are blood tests possible without seeing a doctor?
Conventional blood sampling
Conventional blood sampling/testing involves collecting blood from an individual’s vein by a needle to perform an analysis of components within the blood. The purpose of this procedure is to look for levels of specific metabolites or other biomarkers, mostly in the case of illnesses for diseased conditions. The blood is then sent to a laboratory for analysis by trained technicians. Storage and transportation of whole blood or indeed centrifuged blood is subject to specific requirements and inadequate adherence to the protocol may cause sample degradation.
Micro blood sampling
Dried blood spot (DBS) is an alternative approach for blood sampling. The blood is simply collected by a finger or heel prick, a technique that has been used for 60 years in newborn baby screening. This method of micro blood sampling is a technique with few limitations, it is a quick and efficient method and only mildly invasive in comparison to the conventional venous sampling method. The blood is collected on specifically prepared filter card and once dried is suitable for analysis. The card can be stored at ambient temperature facilitating convenient logistics and transport. This may also reduce the possibility of human error in the processing steps required following venous whole blood collection, ensuring the reliability of results. The card is sent to the laboratory for analysis using modern detection systems including analytical, immunological and genetic. The DBS technique has proven to be reliable and results comparable to blood sampling by conventional means.
Blood testing without a doctor
Routine blood tests ensure that an individual’s physical health is monitored and can ensure the appropriate intervention is undertaken in the event of disease or sub-standard health presentations. The process of making an appointment and visiting a surgery can be time-consuming and, in some cases, for sick persons or those requiring repeated observations, it is highly inconvenient.
Micro blood sampling through dried blood spot (DBS) enables blood sampling to be performed very quickly, and it can also be carried out without the presence of a doctor. The medical professional essentially will provide the card for blood sample collection, monitor its use, deliver results and perform follow up care. There is a pre-defined area that the blood produced by a prick to the finger will be applied. The card can then be delivered to the laboratory directly, without specialised processing of the blood sample first.
In addition to the advantage of micro blood sampling requiring very little training and enabling greater usability and application, the newly introduced HemaXis DB10 offers volume control at the collection point. This significant detail allows for precise and accurate quantitative analysis (concentration, cut-off, range measurements), which traditional DBS doesn’t permit. It also reduces the number of manipulations by lab technicians prior to the analysis of the sample at the laboratory.
When blood sampling without a doctor may be necessary?
In some conditions such as cancer, a patient can suffer incapacitating side-effects from their treatment; however, frequent blood testing may be required to order to monitor treatment levels and correlate the efficacy while avoiding toxicity. The volumetric control in this setting is of paramount importance. In this situation, the use of the HemaXis DB10 microsampling solution can be performed quickly and easily by health care professionals or by others within the patient’s care environment; this process eliminates unnecessary inconvenience. The samples can then be sent directly for examination of the analytes of interest.
The use of HemaXis DB10 can also provide the opportunity for large group blood sampling in one location and at a specific time point. This may be of benefit in screening for illicit drug use, in an environment such as employment, military or even prisons. This procedure can be performed rapidly, with minimal disruption and inconvenience to those involved.
It may also be necessary to address the possibility of disease in a more remote community. The ability to screen multiple people consecutively and under the same conditions may be of benefit in disease control, particularly when considering rural communities that may not have easy access to appropriate medical facilities.
Moreover, it may be essential in some communities for newborn baby screening of many disease conditions, early detection will lead to as short a time-lapse as possible in providing the necessary treatment. Very little training is necessary for the use of micro blood sampling and the lack of requirements for cold storage and bio-hazard control; reduces the overall cost to the healthcare providers within such communities, removing the financial strain on medically resource-poor regions.
The future of DBS
Technological advancements in medicine and our increase in the understanding of the molecular mechanisms underpinning many diseased conditions have provided a fresh look at disease prevention, diagnosis and control. This has largely been by new perspectives in the fields of proteomics, metabolomics and genomics, leading to greater choices concerning healthcare management for both the global population and clinicians as a whole.
Using DBS sampling techniques, HemaXis™ DB10 is designed with maximum usability and precision in mind. Its application in the field of medicine and blood sampling of the general population is wide-reaching. By keeping abreast of medical research, HemaXis™ DB10 can be sure that the technical advantages of DBS are exploited to the benefit of the population; thus, providing maximum assurance in reliability and accuracy. The HemaXis™ DB10 leads the way in micro blood sampling with the unique feature of blood volume control, enabling fixed volume collection of blood at any time and anywhere.