Urinary albumin level is an important indicator of kidney damage in chronic kidney disease (CKD) but effective routine albumin detection tools are lacking. In this paper, we developed a low-cost and high accuracy microfluidic urinary albumin chip (UAL-Chip) to rapidly measure albumin in urine. The UAL-Chip offers three major features: (1) we incorporated a fluorescent reaction assay into the chip to improve the detection accuracy; (2) we constructed a passive and continuous mixing module in the chip that provides user-friendly operation and greater signal stability; (3) we applied a pressure-balancing strategy based on the immiscible oil coverage that achieves precise control of the sample-dye mixing ratio. We validated the UAL-Chip using both albumin standards and urine samples from 12 CKD patients and achieved an estimated limit of detection (LOD) of 5.2 μg/mL. The albumin levels in CKD patients' urine samples measured by UAL-Chip is consistent with the traditional well-plate measurements and clinical results. We foresee the potential of extending this passive and precise mixing platform to assess various disease biomarkers.
Keywords: albumin; albuminuria; chronic kidney disease; microfluidic device; point-of-care.