Clinical Lab

Everything There Is To Know About Clinical Lab equipment

A clinical laboratory is the unique facility of a medical institution where different clinical analyses are performed. They mostly perform various clinical pathology tests and work to improve patients' understanding of the reasons for the appointment and their results. Nowadays, every modern hospital in a developed commonwealth, whether local, state, or country, has that unit with all the necessary medical laboratory equipment.

Clinical lab equipment includes various apparatuses, for example, centrifuges, spectroscopes. It includes chemical reagents (different dyes, catalyzers of chemical reactions, ferments) and measuring and enlargement tools. The exact list of clinical lab equipment and apparatuses depends on the primary orientation, budget, country, location of the hospital, and a wide variety of other factors.

Doctors, specially trained assistants, and nursing staff serve these departments. There are many different risks involved, and they depend on the facility's primary orientation. Nowadays, a large department can provide more than seven hundred kinds of analysis for various purposes and pathological states.

History of a medical laboratory

The first described and documented test, which still was far from modern, points us to the times of the Hypoctate. He proposed two ways of tuberculosis diagnosis verification. First, is splitting the patient's sputum on a heated stone, claimed as the first way. And the second one has its basis on putting the sputum inside a transparent holding capacity with clean water. 

In the era when the general medical practice was the most common way of doctoral services across the world, each doctor had a panel of tests. Those times were great for doctors, as they could use only those varieties of examinations that they knew. Accordingly to that, the overall number of possible diagnoses was pretty small. But, as time passed with the invention of numerous new and more complicated examinations, the demand for the development of a new medical unit occurred.

Sir Williams Osler organized the first known departments of that type at Johns Hopkins Hospital in 1898, referring to them as ward laboratories. These departments performed routine clinical measurements, and many were highly specific, like microscopy of sputum, the building of microbiological profile, and various others.

Indications for the use of those units

Every disease, chronic pathological state, and in some instances, even a few normal conditions, are indications for the use of those units. This is due to a wide variety of measurements, possible ways of studies, and determined signs that can potentially be discovered during these departments' working process. Every human being, whether ill or healthy, has to pass various checks from time to time.  

Sometimes, those units also provided various possibilities in creating unique kinds of medications. For example, if the patient has an intense, persistent, and sustainable (for the variety of antibiotics) bacterial infection, those units may provide specialized treatment in the form of the personal vaccine, or the bacteriophage strain. They usually need to get a sample of the patient fluids containing those bacterias first.

Those units' extensive use is also in screening diagnostic procedures during pandemics and preventing infectious disease outbreaks. Usually, this type of analysis means that there is only a single procedure needed to determine whether a human is infected or not. However, various issues often occur, such as false positives, false negatives, and results failures.

Among the other indications, lots of humans used those units' services during their general annual check-ups. It's pretty essential to understand that nowadays, no diagnosis in the world is not verified undirectly or directly with at least one examination. The standard diagnostic clinical analysis sets are widely common nowadays and vary a little bit in different countries.

Main types of performed tests

As a wide variety of different examinations are available nowadays, there is a requirement for many highly specialized clinical lab equipment, rare chemical substances, and sometimes specially trained personnel. That is why every hospital usually keeps only those required for general clinical examinations and strict clinical lab equipment for their profile needs. Here are the main types of medical tests according to profile:

  • Routine or general check-ups
  • Special check-ups
  • Oncological screening
  • Endocrinological tests
  • Toxicological check-ups
  • Drug monitoring sets
  • Urinalysis
  • Fecal analysis

Every single type of check-ups mentioned above includes plenty of tests. Many of those analysis types are still poorly understood, for example, oncological screening sets. And as science and medicine do not stand in a place, continually developing various forms of old tests, and new examinations, apparatuses for analysis, and chemical substances.

Standard medical laboratory equipment

As every medical hospital should nowadays maintain this unit, there also exists a standard clinical lab equipment list. Those lists vary depending on the institution's main profile, countries, and overall budget. As every medical institution should allow a patient to perform various routine check-ups, the standard medical laboratory equipment of those hospital units should include:

  • Immunoassay analyzers
  • Incubators
  • Gamma counters
  • Urinalysis analyzers
  • Differential counters
  • Hotplates
  • Blood gas analyzers
  • Microscopes
  • Point of care analyzers
  • Microplate readers and washers
  • DNA analyzers
  • Histology and cytology equipment
  • Chemistry analyzers
  • Autoclaves
  • Hematology analyzers

Besides the clinical lab equipment, various active chemical substances are also essential for those departments' normal functioning. There are endless possibilities in choosing chemicals presented nowadays for each of those units, and every other one prefers to use different sets of substances. For example, there are more than 500 varieties of tissue-marking dyes known. Still, they consistently developed new different substances and methods.

How medical labs work

Medical labs usually work 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. There are at least a few specialists who are intensively working or located on the unit's territory. Mostly, such an intensive work schedule connects with potential urgent situations occurring. When someone urgently requires the hospital service, there is often a lack, and there is no possibility of waiting until these facilities' workers come to the department.

In every hospital building, there is a test room where patients can provide their biological fluids or other parts for the following examination. Sometimes, the additional help of medical staff may be needed. Those situations include any invasive method to take patients' samples, such as getting a blood portion or even performing a biopsy. Sometimes, patients need to go to a specific biopsy roomif the procedure involves high risks. After these processes, the material gets transported to the central part of the facility.

With the patient's samples in the central part, the test begins. There are many types of machinery and unique gear presented in every particular workshop in only one specimen. Hence, assistants often have to make patients queue, mainly according to the severity of their condition. Also, the same sample sometimes is useful for multiple series of analyses.

Market leaders

There are probably millions of manufacturers and distributors of different medical laboratory equipment vital for the adequate working process of those departments. So, it's almost impossible to create a genuinely objective list of the market leaders among them. So, we decided to pick up a few of the necessary clinical lab equipment types and list the best creators of that equipment. 

  • Metro
  • Siemens
  • Philips
  • Lebron Co
  • Thermo scientific
  • Nilfisk
  • Ika
  • Sonica
  • Marvel scientific
  • Branson
  • Eagle
  • Justrite

There are also lots of different used clinical lab equipment for sale, but unfortunately, their quality is mostly even far from mediocre. Even though their prices are usually pretty low, there are lots of technical issues that potentially may occur concerning performance. For example, the situation may happen when a used centrifuge starts to throw away samples.

Conclusion

Laboratories are nowadays one of the essential facilities that every medical institution holds. The total amount available nowadays, and even possibly performed in each clinic analyses are countless. Lots of different examinations are increasing their productivity and safety level every year. However, still, there is a standard pack of various tests that exist, which sometimes gets repurposed in every clinic.

However, we can't even imagine all the possible potential that lies behind the various clinical inquiries. The whole world of brand new possibilities opens each time with the invention of a new type of analysis medical laboratory equipments. Many possible ways of interpretation of already existing check-ups, in combination with newly created, maybe even an endless number of tests, can grant infinite flow of pure knowledge for the entire humankind. And, probably, it also will help to save lots of human lives.