Scientific article
Open access

Evaluation of a Portable Blood Gas Analyzer for Prehospital Triage in Carbon Monoxide Poisoning: Instrument Validation Study

Published inJMIR formative research, vol. 7, e48057
Publication date2023-10-06
First online date2023-10-06

Background: Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning is an important cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Symptoms are mostly aspecific, making it hard to identify, and its diagnosis is usually made through blood gas analysis. However, the bulkiness of gas analyzers prevents them from being used at the scene of the incident, thereby leading to the unnecessary transport and admission of many patients. While multiple-wavelength pulse oximeters have been developed to discriminate carboxyhemoglobin (COHb) from oxyhemoglobin, their reliability is debatable, particularly in the hostile prehospital environment.

Objective: The main objective of this pilot study was to assess whether the Avoximeter 4000, a transportable blood gas analyzer, could be considered for prehospital triage.

Methods: This was a monocentric, prospective, pilot evaluation study. Blood samples were analyzed sequentially with 2 devices: the Avoximeter 4000 (experimental), which performs direct measurements on blood samples of about 50 µL by analyzing light absorption at 5 different wavelengths; and the ABL827 FLEX (control), which measures COHb levels through an optical system composed of a 128-wavelength spectrophotometer. The blood samples belonged to 2 different cohorts: the first (clinical cohort) was obtained in an emergency department and consisted of 68 samples drawn from patients admitted for reasons other than CO poisoning. These samples were used to determine whether the Avoximeter 4000 could properly exclude the diagnosis. The second (forensic) cohort was derived from the regional forensic center, which provided 12 samples from documented CO poisoning.

Results: The mean COHb level in the clinical cohort was 1.7% (SD 1.8%; median 1.2%, IQR 0.7%-1.9%) with the ABL827 FLEX versus 3.5% (SD 2.3%; median 3.1%, IQR 2.2%-4.1%) with the Avoximeter 4000. Therefore, the Avoximeter 4000 overestimated COHb levels by a mean difference of 1.8% (95% CI 1.5%-2.1%). The consistency of COHb readings by the Avoximeter 4000 was excellent, with an intraclass correlation coefficient of 0.97 (95% CI 0.93-0.99) when the same blood sample was analyzed repeatedly. Using prespecified cutoffs (5% in nonsmokers and 10% in smokers), 3 patients (4%) had high COHb levels according to the Avoximeter 4000, while their values were within the normal range according to the ABL827 FLEX. Therefore, the specificity of the Avoximeter 4000 in this cohort was 95.6% (95% CI 87%-98.6%), and the overtriage rate would have been 4.4% (95% CI 1.4%-13%). Regarding the forensic samples, 10 of 12 (83%) samples were positive with both devices, while the 2 remaining samples were negative with both devices.

Conclusions: The limited difference in COHb level measurements between the Avoximeter 4000 and the control device, which erred on the side of safety, and the relatively low overtriage rate warrant further exploration of this device as a prehospital triage tool.

  • Avoximeter 4000
  • CO-oximetry
  • Blood gas
  • Blood work
  • Carbon monoxide
  • Carbon monoxide intoxication
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Cohort study
  • Medical device
  • Oximeter
  • Pilot study
  • Poisoning
  • Prehospital triage
  • Pulse oximeter
  • Sensor
  • Triage
  • Triage tool
Citation (ISO format)
LYON, Matthieu et al. Evaluation of a Portable Blood Gas Analyzer for Prehospital Triage in Carbon Monoxide Poisoning: Instrument Validation Study. In: JMIR formative research, 2023, vol. 7, p. e48057. doi: 10.2196/48057
Main files (1)
Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal2561-326X

Technical informations

Creation11/22/2023 3:10:46 PM
First validation04/05/2024 11:57:21 AM
Update time04/05/2024 11:57:21 AM
Status update04/05/2024 11:57:21 AM
Last indexation05/06/2024 6:19:48 PM
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