Point-of-Care Testing for Anaemia in Children Using Portable Haematocrit Meter: A Pilot Study from Southwest Nigeria and Implications for Developing Countries
BACKGROUND: Prompt and accurate diagnosis is needed to prevent the untoward effects of anaemia on children. Although haematology analyzers are the gold standard for accurate measurement of haemoglobin or haematocrit for anaemia diagnosis, they are often out of the reach of most health facilities in resource-poor settings thus creating a care gap. We conducted this study to examine the agreement between a point-of-care device and haematology analyzer in determining the haematocrit levels in children and to determine its usefulness in diagnosing anaemia in resource-poor settings.
METHODS: EDTA blood samples collected from participants were processed to estimate their haematocrits using the two devices (Mindray BC-3600 haematology analyzer and Portable Mission Hb/Haemotocrit testing system). A pairwise t-test was used to compare the haematocrit (PCV) results from the automated haematology analyzer and the portable haematocrit meter. The agreement between the two sets of measurements was assessed using the Bland and Altman method where the mean, standard deviation and limit of agreement of paired results were calculated.
RESULTS: The intraclass and concordance correlation coefficients were 0.966 and 0.936. Sensitivity and specificity were 97.85% and 94.51% respectively while the positive predictive and negative predictive values were 94.79% and 97.73%. The Bland and Altman`s limit of agreement was -5.5 ̶ 5.1 with the mean difference being -0.20 and a non-ignificant variability between the two measurements (p = 0.506).
CONCLUSION: Haematocrit determined by the portable testing system is comparable to that determined by the haematology analyzer. We therefore recommend its use as a point-of-care device for determining haematocrit in resource-poor settings where haematology analyzers are not available.
KEYWORDS: Child health, Anaemia, Point-of-Care devices, Early diagnosis and treatment, Nigeria