A microfluidic biochip for complete blood cell counts at the point-of-care

Technology (Singap World Sci). 2015 Dec;3(4):201-213. doi: 10.1142/S2339547815500090. Epub 2015 Dec 11.


Complete blood cell counts (CBCs) are one of the most commonly ordered and informative blood tests in hospitals. The results from a CBC, which typically include white blood cell (WBC) counts with differentials, red blood cell (RBC) counts, platelet counts and hemoglobin measurements, can have implications for the diagnosis and screening of hundreds of diseases and treatments. Bulky and expensive hematology analyzers are currently used as a gold standard for acquiring CBCs. For nearly all CBCs performed today, the patient must travel to either a hospital with a large laboratory or to a centralized lab testing facility. There is a tremendous need for an automated, portable point-of-care blood cell counter that could yield results in a matter of minutes from a drop of blood without any trained professionals to operate the instrument. We have developed microfluidic biochips capable of a partial CBC using only a drop of whole blood. Total leukocyte and their 3-part differential count are obtained from 10 μL of blood after on-chip lysing of the RBCs and counting of the leukocytes electrically using microfabricated platinum electrodes. For RBCs and platelets, 1 μL of whole blood is diluted with PBS on-chip and the cells are counted electrically. The total time for measurement is under 20 minutes. We demonstrate a high correlation of blood cell counts compared to results acquired with a commercial hematology analyzer. This technology could potentially have tremendous applications in hospitals at the bedside, private clinics, retail clinics and the developing world.

Keywords: Complete Blood Cell Counts; Coulter Counting; Cytometry; Microfluidic; Point-of-Care.