Rapid analysis of selected laboratory tests is essential in the management of critically ill patients. These tests facilitate accurate diagnosis of clinical problems and the initiation and evaluation of appropriate therapeutic interventions. Instruments are now available to perform analysis at a site near the patient, or “point-of-care” lasting. These instruments incorporate electrochemical and optical sensors capable of providing information on multiple analytes from a small sample of whole blood. In this article, the author explores the technologies behind point-of-care testing, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of in vitro, in vivo, and ex vivo modalities

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