Biomedical point-of-care microanalyzer for potentiometric determination of ammonium ion in plasma and whole blood

Antonio Calvo-López, Beatriz Rebollo-Calderon, Aida Ormazábal, Rafael Artuch, Javier Rosell-Ferrer, Julián Alonso-Chamarro, Mar Puyol*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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Some inborn errors of metabolism and other diseases can result in increasing blood ammonium (hyperammonemia episodes), which can cause serious neurological complications in patients or even death. Early diagnosis, follow up and treatment are essential to minimize irreversible damages in brain. Currently, adequate analytical instrumentation for the necessary ammonium bedside determination is not available in all health centers but only in clinical laboratories of reference hospitals. We therefore have developed a low cost and portable potentiometric Point-of-Care microanalyzer (POC) to address this problem. It consists of a cyclic olefin copolymer-based microanalyzer, the size of a credit card and working in continuous flow, which integrates microfluidics, a gas-diffusion module and a potentiometric detection system. The analytical features achieved are a linear range from 30 to 1000 μmol L−1 NH4+, a detection limit of 18 μmol L−1 NH4+ and a required sample volume of 100 μL, which comply with the medical requirements. Plasma and blood samples are analyzed with no significant differences observed between ammonium concentrations obtained with both the proposed microanalyzer and the reference method. This demonstrates the value of the developed POC for bedside clinical applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number339782
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2022


  • Ammonium Compounds
  • Blood ammonium
  • Cycloparaffins
  • Humans
  • Hyperammonemia
  • Ion selective electrodes
  • Microfluidics
  • Monitoring
  • Point-of-Care Systems
  • Point-of-Care analyzer
  • Potentiometry


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