Operational evaluation of the earlobe arterialized blood collector in critically ill patients

Sergi Vaquer, Jordi Masip, Gisela Gili, Gemma Gomà, Joan Carles Oliva, Alexandre Frechette, Simon Evetts, Thais Russomano, Antonio Artigas

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1 Citation (Scopus)


© 2015 Vaquer et al. Background: The new Earlobe Arterialized Blood Collector (EABC®) is a minimally invasive prototype system able to perform capillary blood collection from the earlobe (EL) with minimal training and risk. This system could improve medical emergency management in extreme environments. Consequently, a prospective validation study was designed to evaluate operational performance of the EABC® in a cohort of critically ill patients. Methods: Arterialized capillary blood was sampled from the EL of 55 invasively ventilated patients using the EABC® following a validated procedure. Operational characteristics such as the number of cuts and cartridges required, sampling failure/success ratio, bleeding complications, storage requirements and other auxiliary aspects were recorded. Result turnaround laboratory times (TAT) were compared with published references. Results: Blood collection was as easily performed on one earlobe as the other. Twenty-six minutes (mean 25.8; SD = 3.8) were required to obtain results, 15 min for patient preparation (mean 15.3; SD = 2.6) + 11 min for sampling and analysis (mean 11.4; SD = 2.1), which is similar to published hospital reference laboratory TAT. The average number of cartridges required was 1.3 (1-3; mode = 1) with the mean number of cut attempts being 1.2 (1-4; mode = 1). Problems/difficulties occurred in 59% of cases but were mainly attributed to patient's demographic characteristics, with only 10% attributable to the collector (superficial cut, blood leak, collector misalignment and obstructed vision). Haemostasis was quickly achieved with minimum complications. Storage of the complete sampling kit required a 300 × 300 × 300 mm box. Two 9-V batteries were used during the 2-year study period. Conclusions: The new EABC® system concept is safe, fast and easy to use. Observed problems/difficulties are easily amendable with certain design modifications. Definitive versions of the prototype have the potential for significant benefits for isolated and extreme environments in medicine.
Original languageEnglish
Article number5
JournalExtreme Physiology and Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Apr 2015


  • Acute respiratory failure
  • Capillary blood
  • Intensive care medicine
  • Mechanical ventilation
  • Space medicine


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