San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
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by BRAD ROLLINS

Central Texas Medical Center has bought two machines that will allow its laboratory to conduct blood tests faster and with smaller samples, hospital officials said this week.

Technicians using one of the new Roche analyzers can perform a battery of tests to a single blood sample in nine minutes. The old equipment took 14 minutes and required two types of specimen. In addition, the new machines add eight new types of tests to the lab’s in-house capabilities, including screening for Rheumatoid factor and various Hepatitis viruses and antigens, said David Erb, the hospital’s laboratory director.

“The new tests are more sensitive and specific than the ones they are replacing,” Erb said. “These state-of-the-art instruments allow faster turn-around times and help us produce more precise results for our patients.”

Troponin T and Pro-BNP tests are used to diagnose and assess the risks of cardiac conditions, specifically obstructed arteries and congestive heart failure, Erb said. Expectant mothers will also benefit because their lab testing won’t have to be outsourced.

Officials did not say how much the new technology cost.

The hospital’s parent, the Adventist Health System, has invested $50 million in upgrades, renovations and expansions at CTMC in the last five years including a $7 million makeover of its operating room facilities in 2010.

Last month, CTMC announced it was buying a $2 million da Vinci Robotic Suite, making it the first hospital in the mid-cities of the Interstate 35 corridor to be outfitted with the futuristic surgery machine.

CEO Sam Huenergardt said the acquisition positions CTMC aggressively in the rapidly growing field of robotic surgery, which can perform procedures more safely and consistently and less invasively.

“These technological advancements provide our surgeons with unparalleled precision, dexterity and control that enable a minimally invasive approach for many complex surgical procedures,” Huenergardt said.

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