Hemoglobinometer Donation Promises Patients Need No Longer Dread Finger Pricks

“No more tears” was the promise made to the patients of the Pediatric Ward at the Grenada General Hospital. Through US-based technology manufacturer Masimo Corporation, the St. George’s University Advisory Board for Sickle Cell Association of Grenada (SCAG) recently secured the donation of a hemoglobinometer – the first and only FDA-cleared technology that noninvasively and continuously measures hemoglobin without a painful needle stick and invasive blood draw.

“This Masimo unit is a noninvasive way of getting hemoglobin measurements on both pediatric and adult patients,” said Dr. Beverly Nelson, MD SGU ’86, Co-Chair of Pediatrics and Consultant Pediatrician for the Ministry of Health, Grenada. “It’s bright red and very easy to introduce to the child. You also get a measurement that will allow you to give an instant assessment and improve patient care with minimal deviations of accuracy from the normally dreaded finger prick.”

The Pronto device, which is useful for 8,000 measurements before needing to replace its probes, uses optical or light sensors to measure the total amount of hemoglobin in the body, avoiding the requirement of pricking the finger to get a blood sample for a lab test.

Housed in the Pediatric Ward of the General Hospital, the device will also be used by SGU students at health fairs, and for use on sickle cell patients at the monthly SCAG health clinic. Discovering the device is not currently validated for use on patients who suffer from sickle cell disease (SCD) only after it was secured, SGU’s advisory board now hopes to certify the Pronto, especially since one in 10 people in Grenada carry the sickle cell trait, according to SCAG.

Grenada also has an important place in the disease’s history, as the first recorded case was found in Dr. Walter Clement Noel, a Grenadian, in 1910.

“A main reason that we contacted Masimo was to support treatment of Grenadians who have SCD,” stated Dr. Andrew Sobering, Professor, Department of Biochemistry at SGU. “Validation will be done by comparing the measurement from the Pronto device to the standard lab test which involves a blood draw. This project is straightforward because there are enough people with SCD for us to create meaningful comparisons. This will be an important contribution to the international medical community as it will allow quick spot checks for hemoglobin to be done on SCD patients.”

The SGU Advisory Board for SCAG consists of founding members Drs. Felicia Ikolo, Chair and Liaison to SCAG; Mary Maj, Coordinator with Student Health Fairs; Tuula Jalonen, Researcher; and Dr. Sobering, who heads development and fundraising efforts. The team was also aided by SOM student Josh Whitesides, who wrote the initial draft proposal requesting the donation of the hemoglobinometer. By validating the Masimo device, the board strives to make a strong and valuable contribution to medical science while hopefully securing future donations of additional medical technology to the cause.

Masimo is a global medical technology company that develops and manufactures innovative noninvasive patient monitoring technologies, including medical devices and a wide array of sensors. A key medical technology innovator, Masimo is responsible for the invention of award-winning noninvasive technologies that are revolutionizing patient monitoring, including Masimo SET® pulse oximetry, Masimo Rainbow Pulse CO-Oximetry and new Masimo noninvasive and continuous total hemoglobin (SpHb™) monitoring technology.