Clinical Biochemistry

Clinical Biochemistry is a medical speciality within the pathology sciences. It extends across all medical fields that involve fluid balance, toxic substances and chemical analysis of blood components and bodily fluids. It provides vital information to assist in the diagnosis and management of various disease processes and clinical syndromes.

Clinical Biochemistry includes:

  • General or routine chemistry – commonly ordered blood chemistries. (i.e. Electrolytes, liver function tests, cardiac markers and renal function tests)
  • Endocrinology testing- hormone and steroid testing.
  • Special chemistry – elaborate techniques such as electrophoresis.
  • Toxicology – the study of drugs, abusive substances and poisoning chemicals.
  • Therapeutic Drug Monitoring – measurement of therapeutic medication levels.
  • Urine Chemistry analysis – qualitative and quantitative urine analysis.
  • Faecal analysis – measured for malabsorption states and gastrointestinal disorders.
  • Fluid analysis – analysis measurement for pleural fluid, amniotic fluid, joint aspiration fluid, pericardial fluid, cerebrospinal fluid and effusions.

Recent Biochemistry Developments

The Biochemistry department has rapidly advanced in technology, automation and statistical analysis markers in recent years. Long recognised as the most demanding sector due to the high volume of tests generated, it integrates chemical and immuno-assay analysers with reference range databased computers to give vital information on critical blood components, incredibly fast turnaround times and electronic reporting formats. Multiple analytes for body fluids such as blood, urine and serum are performed, ranging from electrolytes to hormone markers, steroids to antibiotic assays, cardiac markers to protein fragments. These are measured and flagged as abnormal if test results fall outside of expected levels.

What PPTC Offers

PPTC’s focus is on improving quality and testing capacity in Pacific Island laboratories, where most do not have the means to provide essential tests, let alone critical tests, for their health care system. A wide variety of chemistry analysers, electronic instrumentation, methodology and testing capacity exists throughout Asia and Pacific regions. This is overwhelmingly obvious when reviewing and assessing Biochemistry EQA reports when returned in the PPTC programme.

The PPTC provides advice to Pacific Island laboratories on the purchase of equipment options that are appropriate and affordable in providing essential tests. The focus is also to improve testing capacity locally to minimise the volume of tests being sent overseas. Advice and support is provided in the implementation of new equipment and the validation of the methods used in accordance with international standard requirements.

The PPTC is committed, to raising the quality and standard of Biochemistry practiced across the countries participating in our EQA programme. Education in the appropriate interpretation of QC data, patient report profiles, identification of disease states and result integrity are paramount issues in raising the importance and understanding in Clinical Biochemistry laboratories.

Blood Gas machines, lmmuno-chemistry analysers and dry chemistry point of care analyses have recently been upgraded in Tonga, Samoa, Vanuatu and Tokelau under the guidance and direction of PPTC advisors.