Kenneth M. Alfano, Michael Tarasev, Steven Meinesc(b) and Gene Parunak
Red blood cells (RBC) can be damaged by medical products, from storage or from disease. Haemolysis (cell rupture and haemoglobin release) is often a key indicator, with mechanical fragil- ity (MF) offering the potential to assess sub-haemolytic damage as well. This article reports on a unique approach to measuring haemolysis, without the need for centrifugation or other sample separation. It also reports on employing that in measuring blood fragility (susceptibility to haem- olysis) under shear stress, utilising an electromagnet to cause a bead to oscillate within a cart- ridge that contains the sample. Cycling between stressing and optical measurement of induced haemolysis at progressively increasing durations of stress provides a fragility profile. Sub-system- level testing shows high accuracy for the haemolysis measurements and fair consistency for MF profiling. Improving accuracy and precision of profiling is a current focus and a fully integrated and automated version of this system is under development.