Hamilton is now the only city in North America with this life-saving infection detection system

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Published September 27, 2021 at 1:19 pm

Based in the testing lab at Hamilton General Hospital (HGH), the VITEK MS PRIME system identifies bacterial organisms in patient cultures, so doctors can prescribe the most effective antibiotic.

There’s a life-saving infection detection system that can rapidly identify more than 50 bacterial organisms in under 20 minutes, and Hamilton is the only North American city it can be found in.

Hamilton Health Sciences’ (HHS) lab was one of three globally that was chosen to evaluate the PRIME system.

Based in the testing lab at HHS’ Hamilton General Hospital (HGH), the VITEK MS PRIME system identifies bacterial organisms in patient cultures, so doctors can prescribe the most effective antibiotic for treating serious conditions such as sepsis and flesh-eating disease.

“We know that having patients on the right antibiotic as quickly as possible decreases mortality,” says Dr. Deborah Yamamura, interim director of microbiology for the Hamilton Regional Laboratory Medicine Program and a consultant in infectious diseases for HHS. “The new PRIME system can rapidly identify 54 bacterial organisms in 19 minutes. Rapid identification means that we identify the cause of infection and treat patients faster, leading to improved outcomes.”

PRIME provides test results four times faster than the previous system. It also identifies fungi, which will help even more HHS patients receive a faster diagnosis and treatment.

Microbiology technologists can also continuously add up to 16 slides at a time, compared to the previous instrument which loaded one slide at a time.

The Hamilton Regional Laboratory Medicine Program is a joint venture between HHS and St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, with HHS handling bacteriology and fungal testing at its HGH lab. The regional program serves hospital systems, including HHS, St. Joe’s, Joseph Brant Hospital in Burlington, and other healthcare facilities in the province. Its expert team includes microbiologists, technical specialists, medical lab technologists and medical laboratory assistants.

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