JUN 09, 2015 02:00 PM PDT

Implementation of MALDI-TOF Technology in Clinical Microbiology

  • Technical Director, ACL Laboratories
      Dr. Costello received his MT(ASCP) in 1973 and worked as a Medical Technologist in Hematology, Immunology and Microbiology and decided to return to graduate school in 1977. He received his Ph.D. in Immunology/Microbiology from Rush University, Chicago, IL. in 1982. He then moved to Lutheran General Hospital, Park ridge IL. in 1982 after receiving his Ph.D. After that he became Associate Director of the Advocate Consolidated Microbiology Laboratory in 1997 and was appointed Technical Director of ACL Microbiology Laboratories in 2003.

      Dr. Costello's interests are in rapid microbiological techniques including rapid viral diagnosis and rapid methods in Bacteriology.

    The practice of laboratory clinical microbiology is finally changing driven by the assimilation of newer technologies, like Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization - Time of Flight/Mass Spectrometry or MALDI-TOF/MS, that performs reliable microbial identifications faster, better, and at reduced cost than traditional methods. Utilization of MALDI-TOF/MS can simplify workflow in the clinical Microbiology Laboratory while generating faster, consistent, and definitive identifications resulting in a positive impact on antibiotic stewardship, lessen spread of nosocomial pathogens, and result in improved directed care for the patient. However, like all technologies, MALDI-TOF is not perfect and the clinical microbiologist must understand and appreciate both the benefits and limitations of this new tool for identification of microbial pathogens. Measurement of successful implementation of this technology must include defined parameters to measure the effect on patient care and input from all involved parties including the medical staff, Pharmacy and Infection Control.

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