At-Home Anemia Testing?

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Senior Project: Team leader Erika Tyburski. Photo by Gary Meek/Georgia Tech.

A simple point-of-care testing device for anemia could provide more rapid diagnosis of the common blood disorder and allow inexpensive at-home self-monitoring of people with chronic forms of the disease, which affects two billion people worldwide.

Erika Tyburski, a research specialist in pediatric hematology at the School of Medicine, led the team that developed the test device (prototype at left) through a 2011 undergraduate senior design project in the Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory. Device development was a collaboration among Emory, Georgia Tech, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

The disposable self-testing device analyzes a single droplet of blood using a chemical reagent that produces visible color changes corresponding to different levels of anemia. The basic test produces results in about sixty seconds and requires no electrical power. A companion smartphone application can automatically correlate the visual results to specific blood hemoglobin levels.

By allowing rapid diagnosis and more convenient monitoring of patients with chronic anemia, the device could help patients receive treatment before the disease becomes severe, potentially heading off emergency room visits and hospitalizations.

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