New blood gas digital solution will help COVID-19 patients

New blood gas digital solution will help COVID-19 patients

Swiss drugmaker Roche starts selling a new digital diagnostics product that may simplify and accelerate screening of patients with breathing problems during the COVID-19 pandemicq the company announced.

V-TAC is Roche’s new digital diagnostic solution that could help clinicians get faster results for arterial blood gas values from patients with respiratory or metabolic abnormalities via a puncture in a vein.

It is available in markets that accept the CE mark, the company said.

In an emergency situation such as the COVID-19 pandemic, Roche v-TAC could also help healthcare professionals to assess disease severity faster in patients and closely monitor potential deterioration in patients with respiratory compromise,” said Thomas Schinecker, CEO Roche Diagnostics. “Digital tools based on clinical algorithms like Roche v-TAC can help improve and simplify delivery of care in emergency situations faster and where it is most needed.”


Roche acquired the v-TAC technology at the end of March with the acquisition of Obi Medical Aps, a privately-held company based in Hadsund, Denmark that focuses on developing disruptive blood gas testing technology.

A venous blood sample instead

Blood gas analysis is typically used in hospital point of care (POC) settings, where quick and accurate results are needed. This includes emergency rooms, intensive care units and operating rooms. The analysis provides clinicians with information about a patient’s pulmonary function and acid‐base status, both of which are essential to make a diagnosis, provide treatment and monitor progress.

A traditional blood gas test requires the collection of an arterial blood sample, which can be a painful experience for the patient since most arteries lie deeper in the tissue than veins and have a thicker wall to be punctured. This procedure is usually carried out by medical doctors or specially-trained staff.

Through the Roche v-TAC digital solution, staff without specific training to draw arterial blood samples are now able to withdraw a venous blood sample instead and digitally convert these values into arterial blood gas values, which can help free up specialist healthcare staff to other tasks. Roche’s v-TAC is fully integrated for use with Roche’s cobas b 123 POC and cobas b 221 systems using the Roche cobas infinity POC solution.


Blood Gas testing and clinical care situations


Blood gas and electrolyte testing is used in a number of critical care situations, during surgery and in a number of other clinical areas, including neonatal and dialysis units. For example, it can help determine whether a patient is receiving sufficient respiratory support, or suffering from heavy trauma or acute heart and lung diseases.


Blood gas and electrolyte systems provide fast, accurate, quantitative measurements of whole blood for pH, pCO2, pO2, Sodium , Potassium , Chloride , Calcium, Glucose, Lactate, Haematocrit, Total bilirubin and CO-Oximetry (tHb, O2Hb, COHb, MetHb, HHb).


Cobas b 123 POC and b 221 systems


The cobas b 123 POC system is a mobile, cartridge-based, blood gas analyser designed for POC testing to measure blood gases, electrolytes, metabolites and oxygen saturation and neonatal bilirubin. With various configurations and a throughput of up to 30 samples per hour, the cobas b 123 POC system can easily be customized to the clinical needs of the ICU, ER, NICU, OR, dialysis units or the laboratory.


The cobas b 221 system is a fully automated blood gas analyser for the quantitative measurement of blood gases, electrolytes, metabolites and oxygen saturation and neonatal bilirubin. The system is designed to be used in POC settings such as emergency departments, intensive care units and laboratories.


Connectivity to the hospital network for both cobas b 123 and cobas b 221 is enabled wirelessly or via a network port using the cobas infinity POC software which is available worldwide.

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