In-line whole blood fractionation for Raman analysis of blood plasma
Blood plasma evaluation has high significance in clinical diagnostics. Current schemes involve the preparation of blood plasma by centrifugation of whole blood followed by electrochemical or spectroscopic analysis. However, centrifugation is often too time-consuming for application in clinical emergency and point-of-care settings. We propose to combine microfluidic, instantaneous plasma fractionation with localized spectroscopic methods for in-line analysis. As an example, we present confocal Raman spectroscopy in fractionated plasma domains at two different Raman excitation wavelengths. Resonance Raman spectroscopy with laser excitation at 408 nm allows the specific detection of free hemoglobin in blood plasma at concentrations above 22 mg dl−1 (level of detection). Consequently, we are able to accurately resolve the range of clinical relevance regarding hemolysis. At near-infrared excitation (785 nm) we furthermore demonstrate the acquisition of characteristic Raman spectra of fractionated blood plasma in the microfluidic setting. These spectra can serve as starting point for a multi-parameter regression analysis to quantify a set of blood plasma parameters from a single Raman spectrum. The combined microfluidics and Raman spectroscopy method is non-destructive and has a whole blood consumption of less than 100 μl per hour. It thus allows for continuous in-line blood plasma monitoring.