State-wide hospital clinical laboratory plan for measuring cholinesterase activity for individuals suspected of exposure to nerve agent chemical weapons
AbstractBackground . Hospital laboratories currently lack the capacity to provide emergency determination of cholinesterase activity. Methods . We have developed a hospital-based 3-tiered system to test plasma for butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) activity and whole blood for red cell acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activity using available technology and personnel. Interagency communications, toxidrome definition, and patient triage will be coordinated by the Connecticut Department of Public Health and the Poison Control Center. Data . Initial BChE data documents good precision between institutions (coefficient of variation < 8%). Summary . Laboratory testing of plasma or blood for cholinesterase activity is important in the management of nerve agent exposure and in ruling out disease in those with non-specific symptoms in the setting of a terrorist attack or accidental exposure. Rapid availability of strong hospital-based analytic support in a smoothly functioning network of clinical, public health, and laboratory services will facilitate overall regional response to chemical terrorism or large scale HazMat events.