Skip to main content


New Tech in Sioux Falls Offers Faster Lab Results

Oct 26, 2015 02:57PM ● By MED Magazine

The Laboratory Department at Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center in Sioux Falls recently acquired an instrument that allows for rapid, accurate and inexpensive identification for bacterial and fungal organisms.


MALDI-TOF, or Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization – Time Of Flight, can provide identification information up to 24 hours faster than traditional methods. 


After allowing a 24-hour specimen-growth period, MALDI-TOF can accurately identify bacterial or fungal specimens found in patient infections within five to 15 minutes. Receiving the correct identification faster can allow the physician to enact a treatment plan that specifically attacks the bacteria or fungi responsible for the patient’s infection or illness even sooner.


MALDI-TOF uses a laser in its ID process. After the growth period, a small amount of the patient’s sample is placed on a stainless steel plate called a target. Then, a single drop of matrix is added. When the laser strikes the sample, the bacteria float to the top. This allows MALDI-TOF to read the proteins that make up the bacteria and then match the profile in its library. 


After discovering a match, MALDI-TOF then confirms its finding with a confidence rating. For example, it may report a 98-percent certainty rate that the identified bacterium is E. coli or strep or staph, etc.  


“We can serve a large variety of patients, from those with wound infections to sepsis,” said Avera Laboratory Manager Kacy Peterson. “This technology can be used for the vast majority of patients who need infectious organisms identified.”


Avera McKennan is the only clinical laboratory in South Dakota with MALDI-TOF technology.

Get exclusive access to the digital edition of MED Magazine (and no spam ever!)

* indicates required