AACC on Thursday announced it has issued new guidance with expert recommendations for performing point-of-care tests for fertility and reproductive health.
The guidance is intended to ensure that patients and their babies fully benefit from such testing, AACC said.
In the fertility and reproductive health fields, point-of-care tests are now used for many applications including predicting ovulation, diagnosing pregnancy, and managing premature rupture of membranes (PROM) -- also known as a patient's water breaking -- and high-risk deliveries.
Performing point-of-care tests inappropriately or incorrectly can lead to unnecessary follow-up tests and procedures and can even put the patient's health at risk or lead to death, AACC noted.
AACC's new guidance is an update of a document published in 2007 to inform healthcare professionals of the most current best practices for point-of-care testing in reproductive medicine.
Highlights of the key recommendations from the document are as follows:
- Testing for PROM using commercial kits alone is not recommended without clinical signs that a patient's water has broken. Additionally, results from these tests must be interpreted in the context of a patient's clinical presentation to prevent patient harm.
- Urine luteinizing hormone tests are accurate and reliable predictors of ovulation. These tests can improve the likelihood of conception among healthy fertile women and can also be used to time certain assisted reproduction procedures. However, further study is still needed to determine the efficacy of at-home ovulation prediction kits that use saliva or measure basal body temperature.
- While blood laboratory pregnancy tests are the gold standard, healthcare providers should consider using pregnancy point-of-care tests in situations where rapid diagnosis of pregnancy is needed for treatment decisions. One such scenario is if a patient presents to the emergency department with unstable vital signs and symptoms indicative of a ruptured ectopic pregnancy that might require surgery.