Rethinking the blood analysis routine
Blood analysis is an integral part of medical examinations. However, the standard procedure of the blood analysis routine has substantial potential for improvement. This procedure is not only uncomfortable for the patients but due to the demographic development with rising numbers of geriatric patients also increasingly expensive for the healthcare system. A study on the global venepuncture market by Research and markets published in March 2017 predicts a growth of costs from USD 790.8 Million in 2016 to USD 1,044.6 Million by 2021, which indicates a growing number of blood samples being taken in daily routines.
Instead of extracting millimitre volumes, microsampling only requires small volumes in the range of tens of microlitres taken from a minimally invasive fingerprick, as routinely done by diabetic patients. The microfluidic chip for plasma extraction is based on capillary forces only, i.e. it does not require any external energy sources. The capillary microchannel in combination with porous filter membrane allows a fully automated pre-processing of the blood sample. This approach makes it possible to execute the sampling and pre-processed step beyond medical facilities and even by untrained personnel. The core idea of the plasma sampling project is summarized in the following figure: