Six blood culture systems help to save lives of Afghan troops


Blood analysis technology helps with fight against infection on the battlefield

The UK Ministry of Defence has purchased three BacT/ALERT 3D 60 automated blood culture systems to help deal with combat casualties at the Camp Bastion Field Hospital in Afghanistan.

The hospital, which is one of the busiest Role 3 NATO health centres in Afghanistan, provides life-saving treatment for wounded military personnel from the British, US and other International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF) in Helmand Province, as well as Afghan national security forces and civilians.

The Ministry of Defence has purchased six blood analysers for use on injured patients in Afghanistan

The Ministry of Defence has purchased six blood analysers for use on injured patients in Afghanistan

Early in 2011, an urgent operational requirement was identified for automated blood culture analysis capabilities for the rapid diagnosis of bacteraemia and septicaemia in this environment. Dave Scorer, urgent operational requirements project manager within the MOD medical and general supplies project team, said: “Most contemporary combat injuries in Afghanistan are sustained during dismounted patrols which, like any other field condition, pose a major risk of heavy contamination of wounds and an increased risk of septicaemia. By automating blood culture analysis, we aim to free up the time usually taken to carry out manual techniques, allowing greater attention to be given to trauma situations, for example, with blood transfusions.”

He added: “The BacT/ALERT 3D 60 from bioMérieux is particularly compact and robust – an especially important consideration in a hot and dusty environment – and is very intuitive and straightforward to use. Two systems are now operational in Camp Bastion, with the third remaining in the UK in the pathology school at Keogh Barracks, Aldershot, for all operators to be trained before deployment.

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“So far the feedback has been excellent and we estimate we are saving about half a day of processing.”