Molecular Medicine and Haematology

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    Overview of the Haematological Effects of COVID19 Infection
    Tracey Wiggill; Elizabeth Mayne; Jenifer Vaughan; Susan Louw
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    Laboratory information system data demonstrate successful implementation of the prevention of the mother- child transmission programme in South Africa
    (2014-03) Sherman, G.G; Lilian, R.R; Bhardwaj, S; et al
    Background: Monitoring the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) programme to identify gaps for early intervention is essential as South Africa progresses from prevention to elimination of HIV infection in children. Early infant diagnosis (EID) by an HIV polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test is recommended at 6 weeks of age for all HIV-exposed infants. The National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS) performs the PCR tests for the public health sector and stores test data in a corporate data warehouse (CDW). Objectives: To demonstrate the utility of laboratory data for monitoring trends in EID coverage and early vertical transmission rates and to describe the scale-up of the EID component of the PMTCT programme. Methods. HIV PCR test data from 2003 to 2012 inclusive were extracted from the NHLS CDW by year, province, age of infant tested and test result and used to calculate EID coverage and early vertical transmission rates to provincial level. Results: Rapid scale-up of EID over the first decade of the PMTCT programme was evident from the 100-fold increase in PCR tests to 350 000 by 2012. In 2012, 73% of the estimated 270 000 HIV-exposed infants requiring an early PCR were tested and the early vertical transmission rate had fallen to 2.4% as a result of successful implementation of the PMTCT programme. Conclusions: Laboratory data can provide real time, affordable monitoring of aspects of the PMTCT programme and assist in achieving virtual elimination of paediatric HIV infection in South Africa.
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    Critical value reporting : A survey of 36 clinical laboratories in South Africa
    (2014-01) Schapkaitz, E; Mafika, Z
    Objective: Critical value policies are used by clinical laboratories to decide when to notify caregivers of life-threatening results. Despite their widespread use, critical value policies have not been published locally. A survey was designed to determine critical value policies for haematology tests in South Africa. Methods: A survey was carried out on 136 identified laboratories across South Africa in January 2013. Of these, 36 responded. Data collected included critical value policies, critical values for haematology parameters, and critical value reporting. Results: Of the 36 laboratories surveyed, 11.1% (n=4) were private, 33.3% (n=12) were affiliated to academic institutions and 55.6% (n=20) were peripheral or regional National Health Laboratory Service laboratories. All the laboratories confirmed that they had a critical value policy, and 83.3% of such policies were derived from local clinical opinion. Mean low and high critical limits for the most frequently listed tests were as follows: haemoglobin <6 and >20 g/dl, platelet count <41 and >1 000 ×109 /l, white cell count <2 and >46×109 /l, activated partial thromboplastin time >101 seconds, and international normalised ratio >6. In almost all cases critical value reporting was performed by the technologist on duty (97.2%). The majority of laboratories required that the person notified of the critical value be the doctor who ordered the test or the caregiver directly involved in the patient’s care (83.3%); 73.3% of laboratories indicated that they followed an algorithm if the doctor/caregiver could not be reached. Conclusion: Each laboratory is responsible for establishing clinically relevant critical limits. Clinicians should be involved in developing the laboratory’s critical value policy. The findings of this survey may be of value to local laboratories that are in the process of establishing or reviewing critical value policies