Events in 2023

CONGRESS 2023 - The Introduction of Digital Pathology EQA

Delegates attending this session will learn about and gain knowledge on the introduction and application of the new EQA scheme to cover digital pathology in Cellular Pathology.

CONGRESS 2023 - Improving employability through simulation learning

Authentic learning experiences and simulations are an established approach to healthcare education known to prepare students for the world of work. A recent study showed that 93% of employers believed that biomedical science graduates failed to meet employability requirements due to lack of practical and technical skills (Hussain and Hicks, 2022). Whilst placements can bridge these gaps, opportunities are limited and unpaid, restricting accessibility. Organising careers events and collaboration with The School of Health and Society, external employers, the Careers and Enterprise team and key stakeholders has enhanced the curriculum content to meet the needs of employers.

Development of the mentorship group, Biomedical Science Careers Support at the University of Salford has enabled successful career development for students. Collaborating with The School of Health and Society, the implementation of an interprofessional education event will be embedded into the curriculum. A recent project involving the introduction of Pathology specimen reception and blood transfusion simulations, allowed students to practice workplace skills, while enabling aspects of the profession to be taught that would otherwise have been impossible to teach. Introducing scenarios coupled with authentic workplace dilemmas including health and safety, quality, and problem solving, not only helps satisfy degree accreditation, but facilitating reflection also feeds into a requirement for HCPC registration and continuous professional development. Related to this, the Biomedical Science mentorship group has also introduced the trial of a ‘portfolio club’. Here students were supported by the teams IBMS portfolio verifier to begin collecting evidence towards their IBMS Registration Training Portfolio.

The impact of these activities has already been demonstrated, for instance 100% success rate with placement applications for those students who engaged in this extracurricular club. Data collected from surveys from participants and feedback from employers forms an evidence base to demonstrate the success of authentic learning experiences and improving employability. The added value of academics from professional backgrounds and cross University collaboration can be expanded to encompass further areas of biomedical science and healthcare careers, with progression to include patient contact and pre-placement professionalism training. These authentic learning experiences and simulations can be sustainably integrated into various areas of the curriculum to bridge the skills gap and improve employment opportunities to all graduates.

CONGRESS 2023 - A role with a difference – anatomical pathology technologist in a mortuary

A role with a difference – anatomical pathology technologist in a mortuary

CONGRESS 2023 - Teratozoospermia Index (TZI): The debate

Semen analyses is essential to understand male factor infertility and to allow planning for treatment options. Absence or low numbers of viable sperm become a challenge and to define whether obstruction removal surgery is needed or whether it would be possible to possible to boost sperm numbers if hormonally related problems exist.

Semen diagnostic analyses is used to define which treatment modality, timed sexual intercourse, intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in vitro fertilisation (IVF) or if intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is needed. Despite all efforts, around 70% of women remain barren after treatment and little understanding exists especially on male factor which forms almost half the problem. Poor to very poor sperm quality relating to multiple factors such as counts, motility and morphology are increasingly associated with declining embryo quality, pregnancy outcomes and recurrent miscarriage. Asthenozoospermia/asthenospermia) is related to reduced sperm motility, whereas teratozoospermia refers to morphology condition. For the first time the field of diagnostic andrology has a chance to make substantial male factor contribution towards the knowledge of poor success rates and have available a numeral encompassed in `teratozoospermia index’ (TZI). The TZI has a maximum of four defects per abnormal spermatozoon: one each for head, midpiece and principal piece, and one for excess residual cytoplasm. The TZI is the sum of all abnormalities divided by the sum of abnormal spermatozoa, thus always giving a result between 1.00 and 4.00.

Ordinary semen analyses so far have had limited predictive value, but TZI will form a meaningful and constructive contribution to reproductive medicine, allowing for less invasive and less commercially driven and unnecessary expensive ICSI treatments. To derive the TZI numeral does not require significantly more investment other than performing a simple calculation to reach this index numeral, while conforming to WHO standards. There are sufficient parallels between poor sperm quality and DNA damage and recurrent miscarriage for instance, and morphology deficit evidence is beginning to emerge, adding TZI potential substantially to diagnostic andrology analyses as well as in providing clinical steers.

The Teratozoospermia Index (TZI) is a recent addition to WHO guidelines. The interpretation of the guidelines and whether laboratories should/should not undertake this test is contentious and may cause issues for many services.

This debate will involve two speakers: one for and one against TZI implementation. This will give attendees a rounded review of this area and support their decisions in undertaking this examination.

The Teratozoospermia Index (TZI) is a recent addition to WHO guidelines. The interpretation of the guidelines and whether laboratories should/should not undertake this test is contentious and may cause issues for many services. This debate will involve two speakers: one for and one against TZI implementation.

Sperm morphology assessment is part of a basic semen analysis. Accurate assessment of the percentage of normal-shaped sperm can help in diagnosing male factor infertility and in signposting to the most effective assisted conception therapy if needed.

Beyond classifying whether or not a sperm shape is normal, the introduction of the teratozoospermia index (TZI) requires us to now look at each sperm in far more detail. We are asked to assess the percentage of specific abnormalities such as head shape (is it too thin or amorphous?), midpiece (is it slightly asymmetric?) and tail (is it a little too short?). However, such assessments require additional time-consuming work for the biomedical andrologist and is it really of any clinical relevance?

Most sperm shape defects are easy to detect by the basic analysis without this extra work. Examples include globozoospermia, macrocephaly, decapitated sperm syndrome and fibrous sheath dysplasia, all of which are simply diagnosed, as often the vast majority of sperm affected.

CONGRESS 2023 - Ensuring fairness in training opportunities

"Don’t worry, you’ll be next" – have you ever said, or heard this phrase when it comes to training opportunities?

Should you have a queue? Should you make promises? Or do you risk losing staff if you don’t?

This session will discuss considerations to ensure fairness in training opportunities, from an individual and organisational perspective. It will also look at how to ensure your opportunities and training are inclusive, and support diversity.

CONGRESS 2023 - Expanding your role into Point-of-Care Testing – a career opportunity to consider

Expanding your role into Point-of-Care Testing – a career opportunity to consider

CONGRESS 2023 - The changing epidemiology of Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF)

Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever is the most widely distributed hard tick-borne disease in the world.

Different factors, such as a better knowledge of the disease, but also trade, modifications of the migratory bird routes and, probably, the climate change are favouring its increase.

The example of the emergence in Spain will be reviewed.

CONGRESS 2023 - Overcoming challenges to passing diagnostic cytology exams

Overcoming challenges to passing diagnostic cytology exams

CONGRESS 2023 - Post-pandemic respiratory viral infections in hospitals

Post-pandemic respiratory viral infections in hospitals

CONGRESS 2023 - Clinical and economic evaluation of the clinical utility of UCH-L1 and GFAP in mild TBI

There are 1.4 million UK ED attendances for head injury every year. Up to 2/3 of these are in adult patients. The severity of head injury associated traumatic brain injury (TBI) is assessed clinically using the Glasgow Coma Score (GCS). The majority of fatal outcomes occur in moderate TBI (GCS 9-12) or severe TBI (GCS=8), which account for only 5% of attenders.

The presence of severe TBI is usually clinically clear cut and prompt evaluation using computed tomography (CT) imaging of the brain is performed, followed by hospital admission with further detailed evaluation. This is also often the case where moderate TBI is suspected. There is clearly a need to identify patients that account for the remaining 95% of attenders, with minor or mild head injuries, who will go on to have serious intracranial lesions.

In patients with GCS 13-15, however, only 1/10 demonstrate evidence of pathology on CT scan.

The measurement of serum biomarkers of brain injury has been proposed as a method to accurately differentiate those patients with GCS 13-15 who are likely to have underlying pathology from those with GCS 13-15 with no underlying pathology.

Among the most studied biomarkers are Ubiquitin C-terminal hydroxylase-L1 (UCH-L1) and Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein (GFAP). UCH-L1 GFAP have been shown to correlate with TBI severity and clinical outcomes. Current evidence indicates that both serum GFAP and UCH-L1 are detectable in serum in less than 1 hour following a mTBI. GFAP and UCH-L1 levels are significantly elevated in patients with TBI with intracranial lesions on computed tomography (CT) and, in patients with mTBI, can distinguish between those with a normal and an abnormal CT scan of the brain.

Patients with mild TBI are at low risk of clinically significant brain injury in the absence of raised serum GFAP and UCH-L1 and other associated risk factors. They do not require a CT head scan and may be safely discharged providing there is a safe support system of care. It is anticipated that this could reduce head CT in these patients by 40%.

Methodology and preliminary results form an ongoing clinical and economic evaluation of the FDA approved serum GFAP and UCH-L1 on the Abbott Alinity platform in patients with mTBI will be presented.
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