What do you think is the future of fetal lung maturity testing?
San Diego, CA
If the question regards the future of FLM testing in general, I believe the future is good. That is, I believe there will always be a clinical need for antenatal assessment of fetal lung maturity prior to delivery in some pregnancies. Clearly, there is a trend toward fewer FLM requests. The reasons for this are not entirely clear, however, availability and accuracy of ultrasound dating and improved post-delivery supportive care, e.g., artificial surfactant administration are probable contributors. These factors allow Obstetricians to be more selective as to which patients really need amniocentesis for FLM studies. Another trend that I believe will continue is that labs will offer fewer different FLM tests and those they offer will tend to have he shortest turnaround times. This is driven by economic realities as well as clinical needs. With the questionable availability of the popular Abbott TDx-FLM assay in the near future, I would anticipate many more labs developing lamellar body count assays in an effort to compensate for the potential loss of the Abbott assay.
Could you explain a little bit about NRCC for those of us that are not familiar with this organization?
The National Registry in Clinical Chemistry began in 1967 as a certifying organization to certify both Clinical Chemists and Clinical Chemistry Technologists by education, training and examination. Subsequently, the organization expanded its certification activities to include certification programs for Toxicological Chemists, Chemical Hygeine Officers, Environmental Analytical Chemists and Environmental Analytical Technicians. The name of the organization was changed in 1999 to the National Registry of Certified Chemists (NRCC). The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) lists NRCC as an approved certification board for Clinical Consultants and Directors of High Complexity Laboratories for certificants at the doctoral level. The NRCC is sponsored by the following professional organizations:American Association for Clinical Chemistry, American Board of Clinical Chemistry, American Board of Forensic Toxicology, American Chemical Society, American Industrial Hygiene Association, American Institute of Chemists, National Academy of Clinical Biochemistry. Detailed information concerning certification options and requirements can be found on the NRCC website (http://www.nrcc6.org/)