Medical management of diabetic retinopathy patients

July 17, 2019

In a press release, EKF Diagnostics announced its Quo-Test HbA1c analyzer is successfully supporting improved medical management of patients with sight-threatening diabetic retinopathy (STDR). The effectiveness of this point of care HbA1c testing application for rapid assessment of glycaemic control in eye clinic patients has been presented at the Royal College of Ophthalmologists (RCOphth) annual congress in Glasgow. This follows the shortlisting of a study undertaken by the Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Swindon, UK, for the 2019 RCOphth Sustainability Prize sponsored by Bausch+Lomb.

Diabetic eye disease is a leading cause of sight impairment in working age adults, and sight threatening diabetic retinopathy (STDR) patients have been found to often have poor knowledge and insight into their diabetic control. The study at the Great Western Hospital aimed to evaluate the clinical impact of measuring HbA1c in an Ophthalmology outpatient setting in patients with STDR. Using EKF’s Quo-Test to provide rapid HbA1c results from finger prick blood, the clinic concluded that POC HbA1c is a useful tool to improve patient education, as well as identify and rapidly refer those with poor diabetic control.

Shortlisted from a field of 198 abstracts accepted for presentation at the annual RCOphth College Congress, lead author Dr. Sunil Mamtora, Specialty Registrar in Ophthalmology, Great Western Hospital, said, “We are delighted with the feedback that our study received, our study showed that POC HbA1c has a huge potential to improve the medical management of patients with diabetic retinopathy. There is also potential for monitoring in clinical trials to further evaluate links between glycaemic control and new diabetic eye disease therapies, such as intravitreal injection treatment for diabetic macular oedema.”

Mamtora explained how EKF’s Quo-Test POC HbA1c is a very useful tool now used routinely in Great Western Hospital eye clinics, “As it is a validated solution listed by NHS England, we chose to use Quo-Test to obtain a fast HbA1c result within our clinic. Following the success of our study, we now use it routinely to rapidly assess patients with poor diabetic control, or those who have not had HbA1c measured within the last six months, and we are considering referral to a diabetes specialist. If POC HbA1c is over 64mmol/mol then the diabetes clinic allows us to refer directly to them based on this validated POC result.”

Further benefits of receiving fast turnaround and lab accurate HbA1c results using Quo-Test were also noted by the study. These included the ability to educate patients with poorly controlled diabetes at the point of care and eliminate the need for follow up communication or visits. Being able to test, triage and refer directly to the diabetes clinic from Ophthalmology outpatients makes POC HbA1c an ideal screening tool to rapidly identify STDR patients who would benefit from intensified diabetes medical management.

Of the 198 abstracts accepted for the 2019 Royal College of Ophthalmologists Sustainability Prize sponsored by Bausch+Lomb, only 61 (31 percent) were considered to fulfil one of the seven steps to sustainability. These are interventions which prevent disease or morbidity, improve productivity, streamline pathways, reduce procurement costs or carbon dioxide emissions, educate and empower patients or healthcare professionals and facilitate more patient centered care. All were assessed on the overall quality of the project but also their contribution to hitting the triple bottom line of reduced financial, social and environmental costs (people, profits and planet). This strong field was narrowed down to a final 20 candidates for the prize, including the POC HbA1c testing at the Great Western Hospital eye clinic. The poster can be viewed at:

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