Abnormal labs are common part of medical practice, as well as the questions what may cause them. Whether you're medical student on practice or an experienced resident, you'll often have patients with abnormal labs, such as in hypercalcemia or hyponatremia, you'd need to find cause for. You may often wonder why your patient has hyperkalemia or what causes their acute kidney injury, and how to treat these conditions.
Cambridge Medical Education comes to rescue in solving the mystery of abnormal labs. They developed an app for iOS devices called iLabsDDx, which helps medical providers investigate abnormal lab values, blood gases, acute kidney injury, and get treatment recommendations.
Being multifunctional is the real value of this app. It doesn't only work as a medical calculator, but also provides tutorial and detailed differential diagnosis list, with treatment suggestions for variety of lab abnormalities.
Completing the registration part opens the home screen which is basically the list of electrolytes, i.e. the most common abnormalities. There are also two more screens. First with normal lab values you could use as a reference, and the Settings, which basically gives you just an option to change app background and pick between units (conventional and SI).
As said, Electrolytes screen offers insight into 10 common abnormalities, from hypo/hypernatremia to hypo/hyperphosphatemia.
Tapping on any of these conditions, opens a new screen. For example if you've chosen hyponatremia, you'd get the screen with abnormality description, as well as options to enter additional values, such as Serum Osm, fluid status (whether it's hypovolemic, euvolemic or hypervolemic) and Unine Na+, in case of hyponatremia. Upon entering the values you'd get differential diagnosis (DDx).
Each of the electrolytes abnormalities has different options and offers different DDx, depending on the abnormality type. For example, for hyperkalemia you can check 4 major causes, get description and differential diagnosis for each, as well as EKG changes depending on values.
Other abnormalities such as hypo/hypercalcemia or hypomagnesemia also offer useful EKG charts for cardiovascular clinical presentation of the condition.
Each of the abnormalities also provides treatment suggestions. Some of these suggestions will first require you to provide additional info about the electrolyte or your patient. For example, if you have patient with hyponatremia, you'd have to provide information about duration of the abnormality (chronic, acute or hyperacute), severity and symptoms, before getting treatment recommendations. It should be noted that the app offers some common guidelines, not the exact course of the treatment.
Other options beside electrolytes abnormalities include acute complications of diabetes (DKA/HHS), acute kidney injury, blood gases analysis, and references.
DKA/HSS is a simple calculator for two most common complications of diabetes, offering evaluation of values entered and suggestions for the treatment.
Next option is Acute Kidney Injury, which is also a calculator, providing an algorithm for evaluation of the patient with acute kidney injury. It requires you to enter patient's values in urine and serum, i.e. elevated creatinine, BUN, and sodium. Also, you have to provide information if the patient is on diuretic or not, their age, sex and weight. After entering all necessary information, you'll get the evaluation of the differential diagnosis, providing suggestions based on the values you've entered, along with KDIGO guidelines for acute kidney injury management.
Blood Gases tab also offers a calculator which is simple and useful tool for evaluating blood gases. There's nothing special about it, but it gets the job done.
Finally, the last option in the footer is Reference used for blood gases analysis and for the rest of the app's content. You may notice that some of the sources listed here are bit outdated, with some of them dating back in the 90's. We're sure that there are more recent guidelines that could be used as a reference. But, this isn't big deal, at least not for iLabsDDx app.
This is really good app, offering a variety of lab abnormalities, with multiple steps along the way that help users walk through the whole process of getting differential diagnosis. Including EKG charts is also a big plus; because these charts help providers visualize changes in CV presentations for different abnormalities.
Interface is well-made and easy-to-use, although some parts are bit crowded, which may be a problem on smaller screens (trying to tap on field to enter a value was really annoying). This and outdated recommendations in references are the only two things that we didn't like. Still, they didn't ruin our overall impressions, which is positive.
Benefit: All healthcare providers, residents, and students who treat patients' electrolyte abnormalities.