Capillary blood microsampling is a simple procedure that allows participants to draw their own blood in small, precise, useful amounts. This makes it easy to collect samples anywhere, which opens the door for a host of innovations in consumer health and wellness.
Venipuncture is painful. It's frightening. When you're performing research with, or delivering healthcare to, vulnerable patient populations, it can pose a significant impediment.
Traditional blood draws are particularly unpleasant for children - pediatric patients can't fully understand what's going on. With elderly patients, the very ill, or those in low-resourced regions, other difficulties can arise, such as the inability to make long-distance visits to clinics for blood draws.
The most vulnerable patient populations - elderly patients, children, those in low-resourced regions, and others - tend to have the most significant difficulties with venipuncture.
Working with capillary blood in these contexts can potentially make things easier. However, older methods of dried capillary blood collection, such as dried blood spot (DBS) cards and filter paper, suffer from limitations (most notably the hematocrit bias) cramping their ability to get specimens that can in turn generate high-quality data of the sort that is needed to better serve vulnerable populations in healthcare.
Enter Volumetric Absorptive Microsampling (VAMS®) technology, the better dried blood collection system behind the breakthrough Mitra® device. VAMS® is making capillary blood collection easier for vulnerable patient populations and, for pediatric patients, much less intimating.
The Challenge of AKU
Alkaptonuria, or AKU, is a rare and less-studied inherited metabolic disorder. It results from a deficiency of homogentisic acid dioxygenase (HGD), part of the tyrosine degradation pathway. As of yet, there is no cure. However, The National Centre for Alkaptonuria, hosted by The Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals, is supporting international clinical trials that may help change that. And clinical chemist Joseph Taylor says that Volumetric Absorptive Microsampling (VAMS®) technology and Mitra® devices already play an important role in the relevant drug development process.
Great science and smarter healthcare need better blood collection and stronger support. That’s the ideas behind the VAMS® Incubator Program, a powerful new resource for blood collection innovators in the worlds of healthcare, science, and research.
In pediatric medicine, for screening and other purposes, it is important to know the appropriate amount of blood that can be drawn from a child depending on their age. The younger they are, the less their blood volume. In cases of newborn screening, if too much blood is drawn, there is a risk of losing an infant.
Capillary finger-prick blood draws have gained popularity. This is partly in response to innovations in point of care testing and remote sampling. Capillary blood has distinct advantages in hospital labs, clinical labs, and in other circumstances requiring on-site sampling and other more traditional blood collection practices. An ongoing quest to streamline workflows and make them more efficient has led to a reconsideration of dried blood spot sampling.