Image: A high magnification micrograph of acute thrombotic microangiopathy (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons).
Acute thrombotic microangiopathy (TMA) is a relatively rare but serious syndrome in which small blood vessels develop blood clots, which result in the mechanical destruction of red blood cells. TMA can result from one or more of several medical conditions and medications.
If left untreated, some of the conditions that cause TMA, including most significantly thrombotic thrombocytopenia purpura (TTP), can result in organ failure and/or death. Because of that risk, patients with TMA are often started on an expensive and time-consuming treatment for TTP while awaiting the return of test results that can help to confirm the cause of their TMA.
The therapy, known as plasma exchange, involves replacing the patient’s plasma with plasma from multiple blood donors, a process that takes several hours each day and must be repeated daily for typically two weeks. Plasma exchange is, however, unnecessary for TMA patients who do not have TTP, and treating them with plasma replacement increases the cost of care, delays their receipt of appropriate treatment, and needlessly burdens the limited supply of donated plasma.
A new, proprietary ADAMTS13 test (LabCorp, Burlington, NC, USA) is being offered which will distinguish diseases characterized by life-threatening, acute thrombotic microangiopathy (TMA). The ADAMTS13 test can provide faster, more accurate results than other available tests, to rule in or out the diagnosis of TTP and to support the earlier institution of appropriate, life-saving therapies. LabCorp’s ADAMTS13 test is performed using new liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) technology. It was developed and validated by LabCorp’s in-house team of scientists and technical specialists.
Gary M. Huff, CEO of LabCorp Diagnostics, said, “The ADAMTS13 test is an important tool for the diagnosis and treatment of a rare but potentially life-threatening condition. This assay represents an opportunity to provide patients with the appropriate treatment and to avoid treatments that are costly and unnecessary, and it demonstrates how LabCorp’s scientific and technical expertise can improve health and improve lives while helping to reduce the costs of care.”