This section provides an overview for automatic analyzers as well as their applications and principles. Also, please take a look at the list of 10 automatic analyzer manufacturers and their company rankings.
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An automatic analyzer (biochemical automatic analyzer) is a device that analyzes samples of blood, urine, and other body fluid components collected from the human body. In addition to measuring biochemical test items such as sugar (glucose), cholesterol, protein, enzymes (γ-GTP, etc.), and other enzymes, some analyzers today can simultaneously analyze immunoassay items such as tumor markers, and immunoserum.
Analysis is mainly performed by spectroscopic methods, such as absorption measurement, and measurement is possible with minute amounts of specimens.
Blood and urine tests performed by automated biochemistry analyzers play a major role in diagnosis in today's medical care and are indispensable in clinical laboratories, such as hospital laboratories.
Widely used mainly in large medical institutions, such as hospital laboratories and testing centers, automatic analyzers perform rapid and highly accurate testing and analysis using trace specimens from patients. Applications include, for example, large-scale screening tests such as physical examinations, pre-treatment tests performed prior to outpatient consultations, and follow-up tests to confirm the effects of treatment.
Since the only invasive procedure for patients in biochemical testing is the collection of minute amounts of blood or urine samples, and the testing is performed in the laboratory by reagent reaction and spectroscopic examination, it has the advantage of being less invasive than radiographic or CT examinations, which involve radiation exposure and other invasive procedures.
In recent years, the spread of high-precision, high-speed, and highly functional analyzers has led to more efficient and shorter measurement times, and the amount of specimen required has also been reduced to a smaller amount, making minimally invasive testing possible.
The main measurement process of the instrument consists of sampling, reagent dispensing, agitation, reaction, spectroscopic measurement, and cleaning.
First, when a body fluid sample, such as set blood or urine, is set in the instrument's sampler, a small amount of the sample is sampled (dispensed) and placed in the reaction cell. Next, the necessary reagents are dispensed and added according to the test item, and the reaction cell is agitated by a stirring mechanism. The reaction cell is held on the reaction table and maintained at a constant temperature for the time required for the reaction.
After the reaction is complete, the specimens are sent to the photometric section via a conveyor belt, where they are subjected to quantitative and qualitative analysis by absorption spectrophotometry using a spectrophotometer. Finally, probes and reaction cells that are to be used repeatedly are washed. Insufficient cleaning causes a significant reduction in the accuracy of the test, so it is necessary to clean them reliably using advanced techniques.
The absorbance spectrophotometry used for measurement is an analytical method that follows the Lambert-Beer law. A calibration curve plotting the relationship between absorbance and concentration is prepared in advance for reagent reactions with the sample component to be measured, and the concentration of the sample can be identified by applying the absorbance measurement results using a spectrophotometer to this curve. In automatic analyzers, after absorbance measurement, the computer automatically identifies the concentration of the sample as soon as possible.
In recent years, due to the sophistication of analyzers, products that integrate immunoassay systems are now commercially available. Compared to biochemical tests, immunoassays include items with extremely large differences in concentration between samples. Therefore, the washing accuracy of biochemical tests cannot eliminate the effects of carryover from previous samples that remain on the sample dispensing probe on the measurement. However, sufficient washing accuracy has been achieved through improvements in the spraying of washing water on the tip of the probe and in the operation control of the probe and pump.
*Including some distributors, etc.
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