how microsampling can improve life for organ transplant patients
by Emerson Dameron | 2 min read
Quantitative, volumetrically accurate blood microsampling technology is an indisputable boon for scientists, researchers, and the entire field of health and wellness. And it also makes life easier for organ transplant patients and their families. The experience of one family in England illustrates how.
Caroline Knapp is a single mother living in England, away from major cities. Two years ago, when her 14-year-old son Josh (seen in photo, right) received a surprise diagnosis of ESRF, her family’s life rapidly changed.
“We didn’t really have time to digest his illness – the wait was so quick, it was kind of a whirlwind,” Caroline says. “To start with, lots of blood tests were quite a strain, to get the correct level of immunosuppressant. We live quite far from the transplant unit.”
Fortunately, she discovered a blood collection breakthrough that lessened these visits, reducing her stress and keeping her family closer together, better able to process their experience. She encountered a home health initiative created by Monique Burgen, specialist nurse, and Jon Jin (JJ) Kim (seen in top photo at left), pediatric nephrologist, at Nottingham University Hospital.
Through the initiative, she received take-home kits designed to facilitate easier therapeutic drug monitoring of tacrolimus and creatinine. Made specifically for pediatric transplant patients, the kits include all the materials needed to collect a blood sample at home, with fun bonus elements such as “finger-pricking good” lancets and “well done” stickers for successful collections.
“During a routine clinic appointment,” Caroline says, “we were told about the whole home health initiative and the Mitra® microsampling device, how it works, and how to use it. We were asked if we would like to try it. Josh, of course, being the typical 14-year-old, with the prospect of trying something totally new that could lessen hospital visits and make blood sampling a lot easier, jumped at the chance.”
Like any tech-savvy teenager, Josh learned to correctly use the Mitra devices right away. Now, remote sampling saves him time in the clinic, which he spends with his family, pursuing his education, and preparing for his future.
Pediatric microsampling has made Caroline’s life easier, too. “We can now sit at home and do a sample using the device, send it off, and get an accurate result without having to leave the comfort of our own home – no driving for miles for blood tests.” Without remote sampling, Josh’s transplant unit would be a 108-mile round trip. “It’s a lot less stressful, plus we don’t need to take a whole day out just to go for a blood test or clinic visit, which makes school attendance better.”
Through it all, Caroline and Josh maintain their curious, optimistic outlook. "Transplants offer a whole new lease on life," says Caroline. “Josh has thrived since his transplant. He’s attended the transplant games twice and brought home medals. Technology is moving quickly – new advances and testing devices are becoming more readily available. Never be afraid to ask questions. The more you ask, the more you understand. The more you understand, the more you can explain to others. Knowledge is power. Always be honest and open with your kids and enjoy every moment."