A prototype of the handheld ammonia blood detector and associated test strips. (Credit: Thomas Veltman)

Researchers have developed a handheld, portable ammonia detector that — like glucometers used to measure blood sugar — assesses ammonia levels from a finger or earlobe prick.

The sensor has been tested on blood samples from patients prone to elevated ammonia levels, and a portable version of the device has been tested on blood samples dosed with ammonia. Results were accurate in both cases.

The test strips are made from scratch. Blood applied to a small hole at one end of the strip zips through a microscopic channel and sinks into a paper-lined well at the opposite end, which is coated with an inexpensive chemical that liberates the ammonia from the sample. Inside the device, this well sits directly under the ammonia sensor.

The researchers have formed a company around their invention with the ultimate goal of attaining FDA clearance for the technology.

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Medical Design Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the September, 2020 issue of Medical Design Briefs Magazine.

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