Bedside Expedited Testing for Anemia (BETA)
Luke Smart, MD
BACKGROUND: Anemia is a common cause of global morbidity and mortality, disproportionately affecting women and children living in low-resource settings such as sub-Saharan Africa. Severe anemia is rapidly fatal in hospitalized children in Africa, often occurring within hours of admission, and must be quickly and accurately diagnosed so that a life-saving blood transfusion can be administered.
GAP: Diagnosing anemia by physical examination is unreliable and inaccurate, and high quality laboratory equipment with adequate reagents is unavailable in many low-resource settings. A recently optimized version of a color-based point-of-care test for anemia has demonstrated excellent accuracy in a USA laboratory, but field-testing in a low-resource setting has not been performed.
HYPOTHESIS: The new point-of-care assay will correlate well with HemoCue measurement of hemoglobin with r > 0.85. The new point-of-care assay will have >85% sensitivity and specificity for diagnosing severe anemia (hemoglobin <7.0 g/dL) and very severe anemia (hemoglobin <5.0 g/dL)
METHODS: The Bedside Expedited Testing for Anemia (BETA) study is a prospective study of designed to determine the accuracy, sensitivity, and specificity of a novel point-of-care assay for anemia. Children receiving medical care at Bugando Medical Centre in Mwanza, Tanzania with a clinical concern for anemia will be enrolled. Bedside results from the new POC assay will be compared to HemoCue measurement of hemoglobin.
IMPACT: An accurate, inexpensive, robust, and easy to use color-based point-of-care anemia test would enable even minimally trained staff to diagnose anemia and provide life-saving transfusions in a timely manner to hospitalized children in low-resource settings with little laboratory infrastructure.