Randox Reagents: Solving the Problem of Heart Attack Misdiagnosis
A report has today revealed that almost a third of patients in England and Wales are being given a misdiagnosis following a heart attack, following a study of 243 NHS hospitals, conducted by researchers at Leeds University.
Timely evaluation of patients with chest pain and subsequently suspected heart attack is a major challenge for hospitals around the world, with chest pain typically representing around 5% of all visits to the Emergency Department (ED) and 25% of ED admissions. One of the biggest challenges facing emergency doctors now is how to prioritise people presenting with chest pain – to primarily deal with those suffering from a heart attack, and to be able to move those who are not, to a different ward, to alleviate the pressures of the overrun A&E departments.
Responding to the escalating misdiagnosis crisis in emergency hospitals across the globe, scientists at Randox Laboratories in the UK have developed a test which could help clinicians rule out heart attacks in patients immediately upon arrival at hospital; allowing clinicians to accurately prioritise those who have truly suffered heart attacks.
This Randox test, for Heart-type fatty acid-binding protein (H-FABP), is a highly sensitive biomarker for use in the earlier diagnosis of patients with suspected Acute Myocardial Infarction (AMI), enabling faster “rule-in” and “rule-out”. H-FABP is detectable as early as 30 minutes after chest pain onset, significantly earlier than traditionally used biomarkers such as Troponin or CK-MB , which typically require 6-12 hours to reach detectable concentrations.
Put simply, given that H-FABP is released earlier than traditional biomarkers used in diagnosing a heart attack, an earlier diagnosis is achievable.
A succession of recent international clinical trials have demonstrated that by combining H-FABP, via this new laboratory assay, with the existing tests already used in hospitals for for Troponin I or Troponin T, the sensitivity and negative predictive value for ruling out AMIs is significantly improved.
Growing evidence indicates that even when one of the newer generation of “highly sensitive” Troponin assays is used, utilising the combination of Troponin and H-FABP is superior to Troponin alone.
The value of H-FABP is not just in positive diagnosis – but doctors are beginning to see it as a means of ‘ruling out heart attack’ when a patient presents at A&E with chest pain.
Please do get in touch if you would like to find out more about our H-FABP test, and how this can go a long way in solving the heart attack misdiagnosis crisis, by emailing email@example.com
There is much debate among clinical laboratories when discussing this common question. With some schemes offering testing as little as 2 times per year, it raises the question, is this really enough?
How frequently an EQA scheme is run will often be dependent on several aspects. Factors such as the diagnostic error rate, number of tests undertaken, experience and turnover of technical staff, and the known stability/instability of the analyte in question should be considered and will all contribute to determine the desired frequency of EQA.
Each EQA programme will vary, where one area, for instance Chemistry, may require bi-weekly testing, another, such as Serology, may only need to be tested every 3 months. Although there is variation between schemes, the benefits of testing more frequently unquestionably outweighs the costs of not testing frequently enough.
Issues with infrequent testing?
If your EQA provider offers infrequent testing, there is likely to be a lengthy period of uncertainty where errors could be happening in the laboratory and consequently incorrect results being released. The outcome of this could be damaging to both patients and laboratories, with credibility and trust in results likely to come under scrutiny. For these reasons, having an infrequent EQA scheme could cause harm to your laboratory and reduce confidence in your test results.
Why should you use a frequent EQA scheme?
To ensure the previously mentioned errors do not occur, laboratories should participate in frequent EQA schemes to guarantee that if incorrect test results do arise, then they will be detected and rectified immediately.
As preventative/corrective actions can be taken sooner through frequent EQA schemes, you will have increased confidence in your test systems performance and may reduce the need for expensive retests. Being able to pinpoint when an error occurred will be much simpler if you are only looking back a matter of weeks or a couple months, as opposed to if you are looking back over a longer period such as 4 to 6 months.
The ability to implement corrective actions sooner and with less disruptions to the lab will help lead to both time and cost savings in the future.
What can Randox Quality Control offer?
Randox International Quality Assessment Scheme (RIQAS), offers bi-weekly, monthly and quarterly reporting options* designed to assist with the early identification of laboratory errors. Not only will RIQAS provide you with extra confidence in test system accuracy, but with 32 flexible programmes you could also make significant cost and time savings through consolidation.
With more than 40,000 participants in 124 countries, RIQAS is the largest international EQA scheme on the market and offers laboratories around the world assurances that the results they are releasing are accurate and reliable. Our many features include; the ability to register up to 5 instruments per programme at no extra cost, easy to read reports, internationally accredited programmes and rapid report turnaround. Why don’t you contact us today and find out how we can support you in maintaining quality control in your laboratory?
Kate Umphray, student of BSc Marketing at Ulster University, tells us about her experience of Randox’s APEX program, our forward-thinking opportunity for students to gain placements in their first year of studies – with just one tweet!
For 10 weeks I have been working in Randox Laboratories with the incredible Biosciences marketing team – the dream opportunity for any first year marketing student! After (nervously) uploading a short video to “Twitter” and an interview, I was one of the lucky few to be chosen for the APEX internship with Randox.
My short time in Randox has been jam packed with fantastic marketing based projects, such as a customer mapping project, social media campaigns for Twitter and blog writing for the Biosciences website. An area that I am very interested in is sales. Because of this, my product group, Randox Biosciences, tailored my placement so that I could get some idea of what a sales role entails. I gained valuable advice and guidance from speaking with members of the sales team and having had the opportunity to help with sales leads from events, they have helped me shape my future career path.
A highlight for me from this placement was being able to attend the 2016 Global Sales Conference in which Dr. Peter FitzGerald publicly announced that Randox had reached the £1 billion mark in sales! Whilst at the conference, I also had the opportunity to learn about upcoming product releases and the other existing revolutionary products Randox manufactures and sells.
The APEX programme is one that I would encourage anyone in business, science and engineering to pursue. Within the business sector, working in a diverse marketing team with marketing executives, graphic designers, sales executives and other placement students has enhanced my understanding of a marketing role immensely. I feel more confident in my decisions as a marketer and it has made me aware of other roles that I would love to pursue, that I wouldn’t have known about before!
Read more about our APEX program, and the opportunities Randox offers to first and second year students ever year! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to stay up to date with Randox’s events and opportunities.
What is Calibration Verification or Linearity?
Calibration Verification, or Linearity assessment, is becoming a fundamental element for laboratories in the USA who have access to instrumentation used in the running of patient samples.
Linearity is the ability to provide results that are directly proportional to the concentration of the analyte in the test sample. CLIA defines this as the assaying of materials of known concentrations in the same manner as a patient sample to verify the instruments linearity throughout the reportable range. By performing calibration verification a lab is assessing if their test system’s calibration is still valid and if their chosen method is linear across the full reportable range, it will also supplement their existing QC and EQA/PT by challenging a larger segment of the AMR (Analytical Measuring Range). According to CLIA, a laboratory should perform, and document, calibration verification procedures at least once every 6 months or whenever one of a number of other factors occur, for example, a complete change of reagents, major preventative maintenance or replacement of parts, new instrument validation or when their control material is highlighting unusual shifts or trends in performance.
It is commonplace for laboratories to confuse calibration verification and reportable range, so much so, that advice and guidance is continually being asked for by laboratories. In short, reportable range is one of the first characteristics that should be used as an evaluation tool whereas calibration verification should be viewed as a continual performance check.
How it works
Aside from carrying out testing twice per year, CLIA also recommend that a minimum of 3 levels are tested (although most laboratories prefer to test 5) covering the low end, mid-point and high end of the instruments reportable range. Labs should run at least 2 replicates of each level in the same way they would a patient or control sample. The results are then plotted against the target values provided, if the results obtained are within the pre-established limits then the performance is considered acceptable. The degree to which the plotted curve conforms to a straight line is a measure of system linearity.
In many cases, data reduction software is provided with the product and this can be used to automatically plot results. This software is also capable of comparing results to peer group data for troubleshooting purposes.
Our Acusera Linearity Sets and Verify data reduction software will provide laboratories the chance to test low, medium and high ranges on their instrumentation – in doing so, labs will keep in line with CLIA recommended bi-annual testing as well as ensuring their instrumentation is performing well across the full reportable range.
Designed with convenience in mind, our sets cover a wide range of clinical testing including; Cardiac Markers, Therapeutic Drugs and Specific Proteins in a liquid ready-to-use format. The varying levels and combination of unique analytes enables laboratories to consolidate testing and reduce the number of individual products required.
Complementing our Linearity sets is our data reduction software, Acusera Verify. When used in conjunction with our sets you can effectively challenge your instrument across the full reportable range while ensuring accurate and reliable patient testing. Some features of our software include easy to interpret charts for at-a-glance performance, access to real-time peer group data to enhance troubleshooting and an intuitive user interface for simple data entry.
As a global healthcare diagnostics company, we know a thing or two about health. And we know that taking time out from our busy lives to relax and unwind is important to stay healthy. Whether that’s taking your dog for a walk, meeting up with friends, getting lost in a good book, or playing your favourite sport.
Playing a competitive sport brings a wealth of benefits – it’s the perfect way to socialise and look after your health at the same time! Not only is it good for your physical health, but can go a long way in maintaining your mental wellbeing too.
There is great value in exercise and fresh air. However, it’s an unfortunate fact of life that most 9-5ers just don’t have the opportunity to indulge in this pleasure very often.
Randox, being a company serious about health and wellbeing, like to know we’re giving our employees the best opportunities to be as healthy as they can, and live their lives as fulfilled as possible.
Amongst many sports in which Randox encourages employees to take part, we encourage our employees to regularly take the time to engage in some friendly competition of 5-a-side rugby against each other. The County Antrim countryside, in which our Randox headquarters are located, is the perfect setting for an informal game of rugby – our rugby players can let off some steam and take in the scenery at the same time!
The team was banded together by Randox Founder and Managing Director, Dr. Peter FitzGerald, who occasionally joins in on the games himself! Dr. FitzGerald is a strong advocate of teamwork and camaraderie in the workplace.
Jonathan Acheson, Randox Health Sales Executive, who plays for our Randox Rugby Team, commented;
“At Randox we work hard but we play hard too! Our work can often be very fast-paced and Randox is expanding phenomenally – for example we’re all working towards our 5 year sponsorship of the Randox Health Grand National, beginning in 2017, which is keeping us all very busy. So it’s important that we take time to unwind and recharge our batteries. We’re lucky that we’re able to take advantage of being in such a lovely area of Northern Ireland – right beside Lough Neagh – and so we can get outside after work and have a good run-about!”
Follow Randox Careers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to stay up-to-date with the hashtag #WeAreRandox
Randox employees put the ‘fun’ in fundraising last Friday with a water balloon fundraiser in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support!
Randox employee, Gary Laverty, initiated this fantastic fundraising event and allowed colleagues to throw water balloons at him in efforts to raise money for this worthy charity. Raising an impressive £409.38 for the charity, Gary spoke of great admiration for Macmillan;
“When my father was ill last year, Macmillan offered tremendous support to both him and my family. Their commitment to helping cancer patients is incredible, really life-changing. I debated a few fundraising ideas but thought that the water balloon idea was something unusual so I hoped people would see it as a really fun event. The fundraiser went really well and I am delighted at the amount we raised for such an amazing charity! My colleagues got really involved and it was a really fun event, thankfully it wasn’t too cold on the day!”
The Macmillan Cancer Support charity aim to improve the lives of everyone living with cancer. They are committed to ensuring no one faces cancer alone by offering support and assistance right from the beginning of a diagnosis, through treatment and beyond, including support to the wider family circle.
We were delighted to welcome Margaret Young from Macmillan to Randox HQ in Crumlin yesterday to present a cheque from Gary’s tremendous fundraising efforts;
“We were absolutely delighted to hear of the water balloon fundraiser and hope that Gary and all the staff at Randox enjoyed themselves. Thank you to all those who took part and donated, especially to Gary!”
Well done Gary!
Ever wonder how motivated and successful people stay so calm at work? Here at Randox, we know that even the most enjoyable careers can get stressful, even for the most motivated employees!
According to a CIPD Absence Management Survey the number one cause for long term sickness is stress. When the paperwork begins to pile up and to-do lists become longer it can be difficult not to let the mounting pressure get to you. But, there’s good news! Exercise is not only for the body, but the mind too. Exercise at work can improve our mental wellbeing improving our ability to deal with the pressure/stress in our working lives. So, if you want to keep your cool like John from H.R., here’s some tips on how you can make some changes today towards improving your mood (even on Mondays!)
1. Get up a go. We all realise how important exercise is but making the time for it in our busy lives can be difficult. Why not make simple changes increasing the amount of physical activity you can squeeze into your day. Take the stairs whenever you can. Perhaps even park your car in a space further away meaning more time to stretch your legs.
2. Stretch at your desk. Research by the NHS says Adults in the UK are sitting for 7 hours a day! Find yourself staring at your computer screen all day? Alternate your tasks at works. Why not even try the CIPD suggested “chairobics”…stretches you can do without even leaving your chair such as rotating your shoulders. Chairobics is so widely praised there’s even sit-down aerobics classes based on teaching people how to get moving at their desk!
3. Clear your head. Don’t be afraid to take a screen-break every now and again. I know it can seem like you’re wasting your precious work time, but clearing your head of the stresses you accumulate at work will give you a clearer perspective on things ensuring you remain motivated and more productive. There is a long history of research into breaks and the correct amount of time for a computer-break. Employers first began offering the break because of its effects of revival on work quality. Not only does it revive your work, however, it revives you! Physical activity goes a long way contributing to improving your own mental well being. Any activity that makes you feel good does well. Feeling good boosts your productivity in work and as the saying goes “Nothing will work unless you do”.
4. Sit up straight. Good posture at your desk will improve your breathing making you feel calmer and therefore less like likely to get stressed no matter what work related task is thrown your way. Bad posture, on the other hand can cause many problems such as pains, and headaches. Try this. Roll your shoulders back and straighten your spine. Lift you chin up. How much better do you feel? More motivated and ready to take on the world of work? Don’t question the power of good posture on your mood!
In conclusion, we quote Ziggy Marley; “Doing something that is productive is a great way to alleviate emotional stress. Get your mind doing something that is productive.” We all want to be as cool as a cucumber in stressful situations at work so the next time you’re feeling under pressure try some of these tips and smile! It’s Friday, afterall!
Randox are delighted to announce that at this week’s American Association for Clinical Chemistry Annual Scientific Meeting and Clinical Lab Expo, in Philadelphia, we have been presented with a NACB / AACC Distinguished Abstract Award for a new Randox Biochip Blood Test to identify Alzheimer’s Disease risk.
Or more specifically, an award for our “Development of a New Biochip Array for ApoE4 Classification from Plasma Samples using Immunoassay Based Methods!”
Out of 1024 posters presented at the diagnostics conference, which is the largest of its kind globally, the poster for our new ApoE4 test, presented by our R&D Scientist Dr. Emma Harte, was one of only 29 to receive this prestigious award.
Emma is one of a team of Randox scientists at our Teoranta site in Dungloe, Co. Donegal, Ireland who carried out this pioneering Alzheimer’s research.
The ApoE4 poster demonstrated the work involved in the development of our ApoE4 blood test, performed on our patented Randox Biochip Array Technology. This blood test is an affordable method of identifying patients at risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease, and provides a faster alternative to standard testing which analyses a patient’s DNA. Standard molecular testing can be both time-consuming and expensive.
The Randox ApoE4 Biochip Array can conduct multiple diagnostic tests on a single blood sample, which has both cost and time-saving benefits, in addition to a rapid diagnosis for the patient.
The Randox Biochip analyses the Apolipoprotein E (ApoE), a gene which is recognised as one of the most significant genetic risk factors for dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases.
There are three versions of the ApoE gene: E2, E3 and E4. The E4 version increases a person’s risk of developing late-onset Alzheimer’s disease, and it may also be associated with an earlier onset of memory loss.
Each parent passes on one ApoE gene to their child. Around 25% of the population inherit one copy of the ApoE4 gene. Inheriting two copies of the E4 variant increases a person’s disease risk by 10 times or more.
Our research into the identification of this gene was conducted in conjunction with our colleagues at the Medical University of Vienna, and verified the accuracy of the Randox Biochip Blood Test by analysing 384 samples and comparing the results to that of a standard molecular diagnostic test. Both tests provided the same accurate results, however the Biochip test results were available in a significantly faster 3 hours.
In combination with information on medical and family history, medication, and lifestyle, an individual’s ApoE4 status, as obtained from the Randox Biochip test, can go a long way in advising personalised medicine for the patient.
“This type of testing is important in our quest to understand and diagnose Alzheimer’s and empower patients to understand risks, consider medication, and even make early lifestyle changes,” said Emma, our R&D Scientist.
“Pairing this test with medical and family history for risk of Alzheimer’s disease has the real potential to advance personalised medicine. This fast, accurate testing will allow doctors and patients to make more informed choices earlier to potentially slow the possible progress of Alzheimer’s.”
Our Randox employees are multi-talented – not only in their roles as world-class scientists, software developers, engineers, marketeers and sales people, but also in their lives outside work. At Randox we have swimmers, cyclists, dancers, musicians, horse riders…the list goes on! And at Randox Teoranta, we have a group of Randox employees who work together as a team not only in the labs, but also on the pitch!
This weekend, our Randox Teoranta football team took part in a number of challenging football games at the Mary from Dungloe Annual Soccer Tournament. The tournament kicked off on Saturday 30th of July at 10.30am and continued on throughout the day, with six teams from across the County taking part; Gweedore Celtic, Glenea Utd, St. Catherine’s, Strand Rovers, Randox, and the Keadue Rovers.
The Randox Teoranta team comprises of a number of experienced football players, some of whom already play for prestigious clubs in the area;
- Ciaran Ferry, Lead Manufacturing Operator – currently plays for Gweedore Celtic in the Donegal Soccer League
- Shaun Boyle, Manufacturing Operator – currently plays for Keadue Rovers in the Donegal Soccer League
- Kevin Boyle, Manufacturing Operator – former Keadue Rovers player
- Daniel Melly, Mechanical Design Engineer – currently plays for Keadue Rovers in the Donegal Soccer League
- Darren McGeever, Mechanical Design Engineer – currently plays for Glenea Utd in the Donegal Soccer League
- Ryan Kettle, Biochip Formulation Operative – currently plays for Drumkeen Utd in the Donegal Soccer League
- Daryl Devenney, Scientist – currently plays for Keadue Rovers
- Mal Mc Fadden, Stores Operative – former Keadue Rovers player
- Aidan O’Donnell, Stores Operative – currently plays for Strand Utd in the Donegal Soccer League
- Robert Farrell, Stores Operative – former Home Farm player
Team Manager and current Chairman of Keadue Rovers Football Club, Ben Boyle, commented;
“The Mary from Dungloe soccer tournament was the first competition for our newly formulated Randox team, and we were all excited to represent our company. As you can see, a lot of our players were playing against their own respective clubs such as Keadue Rovers, Gweedore Celtic, Glenea Utd and Strand Utd, who all took part, so there was certainly some friendly rivalry on the day!”
The Teo team successfully won one of their four matches during the tournament which saw Glenea Utd of the Donegal Senior League take home the coveted Perpetual Cup. Randox lost to the eventual winners of the tournament in their first game by a narrow 1 goal margin. In their second game they lost 2-0 to Strand Rovers but hit form in their third encounter against Gweedore Celtic. Teo emerged as winners when the whistle blew at 3-0, with goals from Darren McGeever, Mal McFadden and Daryl Devenney. The Teo team unfortunately lost their fourth match 1-0 after a very close encounter with Keadue Rovers.
A victory against Keadue would have seen Teo reach a play off to make the final but it just wasn’t to be on this occasion. The final then saw Glenea Utd and Keadue rovers go head-to-head, leaving Glenea victorious on penalties and emerging the victors of the tournament.
The tournament on the Shorefront pitch followed a week jam-packed full of activities during the Mary from Dungloe Festival, including a visit from the Marys to Randox Teoranta for a guided tour of the facilities.
On Sunday, Eva Ni Dhoibhlinn was then officially announced as Mary from Dungloe at a Crowning Cabaret which was televised on Irish TV.
Shaun Boyle, Randox Teoranta Football Team Captain, enjoyed taking part in the tournament, which he described as a much-loved and eagerly anticipated event during the Mary from Dungloe festival;
“All of us in the Randox team gave it our all. During such a popular event as the annual Mary from Dungloe Soccer Tournament, we were of course up against top quality opposition, but played our absolute best. We may need a few diagnostic kits to analyse our injuries from the tournament – especially for the older players in the squad!”
Ciaran Richardson, Head of R&D at Randox Teoranta, congratulated the team on their efforts and is looking forward to seeing the team play in their next big game;
“From everyone at Randox I’d like to say a big well done to all the players in the Randox Teo football team. They played exceptionally well and it was great to see their teamwork in the workplace transfer on to the pitch.”
Recognised by Randox for his efforts, Rajneesh Mathur has been the recipient of multiple awards. And this year, his actions reflected the true team-spirit of Randox’s US team. Here’s his story…
With a workforce of over 1,400 employees, and careers spanning 145 countries, Randox teams from all across the globe benefit from a strong support network of colleagues who work together to realise our vision of saving and improving lives. In recent months, we believe one employee has illustrated this value perfectly. This employee is Director of Business Development for Randox USA, Rajneesh Mathur.
Rajneesh is a truly inspirational leader, frequently being recognised for his professional abilities within the Randox team. Earlier this year, Randox awarded Rajneesh with the ‘Exceptional Achievements Award’, for his hard work and impressive selling prowess in the US market. Later in the year, he was awarded again in recognition for his ‘Special Endeavours and Loyalty’ to Randox; an award which also included a generous bonus.
However, Randox could never have anticipated the kindness of what Rajneesh did next. In an outstanding gesture of team spirit, Rajneesh volunteered to fund a mini-break for employees of the Randox USA team in West Virginia. He wanted to acknowledge that his success relies upon the commitment of the USA Office Staff who support his endeavours, and to highlight that without a supportive team, even the greatest of leaders cannot achieve great things.
We wanted to know a little more about Rajneesh’s story, so we sat down to talk about the successes of the US team. He commented:
“Our success in the US market this year has truly been a team effort. Without a strong support team in place, the Sales Staff would not be able to do their job, and so I wanted to make a token gesture that highlighted our cohesion and support for one another. Success for one person in our team, is success for all of us. Recognition of everyone’s hard work helps strengthen our bond and commitment to Randox.”
During their outing, Rajneesh and the other members of the Randox USA team attended the Charlestown Races on Saturday 23rd July, funded by Rajneesh’s altruism. All the staff members then stayed at Hampton Inn and Suites Hilton, and each of the US team was even able to bring a friend or family member to stay!
Rajneesh continued to tell us about the celebratory events the Randox USA team enjoyed together;
“We decided to continue with the Randox Health Grand National theme by going to the Charlestown Races. We had an epic buffet dinner, and then enjoyed the horse races. It was a good opportunity to mingle in a relaxed setting and get to know each other better. We all enjoyed a wonderful evening and it was fantastic to be able to celebrate our success together. Randox is such a fantastic place to work – there is such a great sense of comradery. It was great to be able to recognize that.”
Rajneesh was given yet another award following this act of kindness. Instead of for his brilliant sales and business skills, this time he was recognised for his display of generosity. Rajneesh was awarded the ‘Special Recognition Award’ at our Global Sales Conference, which took place in the Hilton Hotel, Templepatrick, earlier this month, making this event a truly celebratory time as he joined Randox in celebrating £1 billion in sales!
Thank you, Rajneesh, for truly showing the meaning of the word “teamwork”! We feel incredibly lucky to have team members like you on board!
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