Vibration motor-integrated low-cost, miniaturized system for rapid quantification of red blood cell aggregation†
Human red blood cells (RBCs) aggregate under low shear conditions, which significantly modulates flow resistance and tissue perfusion. A higher aggregation tendency in blood thus serves as an important clinical indicator for the screening of cardiovascular disorders. Conventional ways of measuring RBC aggregation still require large sample volumes, cumbersome manual procedures, and expensive benchtop systems. These inconvenient and high-cost measurement methods hamper their clinical applicability. Here, we propose a low-cost, miniaturized system to overcome the limitations of these methods. Our system utilizes a coin vibration motor (CVM) to generate a localized vortex for disaggregating RBCs in a disposable fluidic chip. The design of the chip was optimized with fluid dynamics simulations to ensure sufficient shear flow in the localized vortex for RBC disaggregation. The time-dependent increase in light transmittance from an LED light source through the plasma gap while the RBCs re-aggregate is captured with a CMOS camera under stasis conditions to quantify the level of RBC aggregation. Our CVM-based aggregometer was validated against a commercial benchtop system for human blood samples under physiological and pathological conditions, and showed an excellent performance with a high intraclass correlation coefficient of 0.995. In addition, we were able to achieve a rapid measurement (<4 min) with the CVM-based aggregometer, requiring only a 6 μl blood sample. These illustrate the potential of our CVM-based aggregometer for low-cost point-of-care diagnostics without compromising the measurement sensitivity.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Microfluidics for hematology