Hemoglobin point-of-care testing in rural Gambia: Comparing accuracy of HemoCue and Aptus with an automated hematology analyzer

Stefan A. Nass*, Ilias Hossain, Chilel Sanyang, Bakary Baldeh, Dora I. A. Pereira

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background Anemia is one of the most impactful nutrient deficiencies in the world and disproportionately affects children in low-resource settings. Point-of-care devices (PoCDs) measuring blood hemoglobin (Hb) are widely used in such settings to screen for anemia due to their low cost, speed, and convenience. Here we present the first iteration of Aptus, a new PoCD which measures Hb and hematocrit (HCT). Aim To evaluate the accuracy of Aptus and HemoCue® Hb 301 against an automated hematology analyzer (Medonic®) in Gambian children aged 6–35 months and the Aptus’ usage in the field. Methods Aptus, HemoCue® and Medonic® were compared using venous blood (n = 180), and Aptus and HemoCue® additionally using capillary blood (n = 506). Agreement was estimated using Bland-Altman analysis and Lin’s concordance. Usage was assessed by error occurrence and user experience. Results Mean Hb values in venous blood did not significantly differ between Aptus and HemoCue® (10.44±1.05 vs 10.56±0.93g/dl, p>0.05), but both measured higher Hb concentrations than Medonic® (9.75±0.99g/dl, p<0.0001). Lin’s coefficient between Aptus and Medonic® was r c = 0.548, between HemoCue® and Medonic® r c = 0.636. Mean bias between the PoCDs venous measurements was -0.11g/dl with limits of agreement (LoA) -1.63 and 1.40g/dl. The bias was larger for the comparisons between the Medonic® and both Aptus (0.69g/dl, LoA 0.92 and 2.31g/dl) and HemoCue® (0.81g/dl, LoA 0.17 and 1.78g/dl). ROC curves showed an AUC of 0.933 in HemoCue® and 0.799 in Aptus. Capillary Hb was higher with Aptus than HemoCue® (10.33±1.11g/dl vs 10.01±1.07g/dl, p<0.0001). Mean bias was 0.32g/dl with LoA of -1.91 and 2.54g/dl. Aptus‘usage proved intuitive, yet time-to-results and cuvettes could be improved. Conclusion Both PoCDs showed a relatively limited bias but large LoA. Aptus and HemoCue® showed similar accuracy, while both overestimated Hb levels. Aptus showed promise, with its operation unimpaired by field conditions as well as being able to show HCT values.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0239931
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number10 October
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2020
Externally publishedYes

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