Kidney disease testing through 3D-printed portable device

July 13, 2022
Kidney disease testing through 3D-printed portable device

A low-cost, portable device designed for remote monitoring of kidney disease was found to be as accurate as costly and advanced technology available only at well-equipped laboratories. Creators from Flinders University in Australia said the device could ideally be used to test for chronic kidney disease (CKD) in patients in rural areas and nomadic communities.

According to statistics, despite an estimated 1.7 million Australian adults showing biomedical signs of CKD in 2011-12 the disease remains highly underdiagnosed – in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities on the Australian plains, CKD is present in up to 18% of some populations.

The testing process is simple using the new device and requires only a urine sample to screen for elevated albumin levels, indicating that the kidneys aren’t functioning to filter blood properly. A patient’s urine sample is mixed with a light-sensitive chemical reagent and placed in the device. Once exposed to LED light, the reagent reacts by causing any albumin present within the sample to fluoresce.

The device is a compact version of an aggregation induced emission biosensor used in laboratories: it incorporates what is known as a Raspberry Pi microprocessor, a digital camera, and a 7-inch touchscreen display, along with multiple LEDs which emit a specific wavelength of light – everything is housed within a 3D-printed body. The device is powered by a lithium-polymer battery and can also be connected to a wall outlet.

“A reliable, portable device to accurately measure urine albumin could be rolled out to point-of-care testing sites in the community to reduce the need for patients with CKD to regularly visit a hospital or clinic,” said Professor Karen Reynolds, Director of Flinders University’s Medical Device Research Institute, part of the team responsible for creating the device.

“It will also help early detection of kidney disease which is imperative for early intervention to slow its progression,” she added.

Category: Features, Technology & Devices

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