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Rapid Point of Care Analyzer for the Measurement of Cyanide in Blood

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A simple, sensitive optical analyzer for the rapid determination of cyanide in blood in point of care applications is described. HCN is liberated by the addition of 20% H(3)PO(4) and is absorbed by a paper filter impregnated with borate-buffered (pH 9.0) hydroxoaquocobinamide (hereinafter called cobinamide). Cobinamide on the filter changes color from orange (λ(max) = 510 nm) to violet (λ(max) = 583 nm) upon reaction with cyanide. This color change is monitored in the transmission mode by a light emitting diode (LED) with a 583 nm emission maximum and a photodiode detector. The observed rate of color change increases 10 times when the cobinamide solution for filter impregnation is prepared in borate-buffer rather than in water. The use of a second LED emitting at 653 nm and alternate pulsing of the LEDs improves the limit of detection by 4 times to ~0.5 μM for a 1 mL blood sample. Blood cyanide levels of imminent concern (≥10 μM) can be accurately measured in ~2 min. The response is proportional to the mass of cyanide in the sample: smaller sample volumes can be successfully used with proportionate change in the concentration LODs. Bubbling air through the blood-acid mixture was found effective for mixing of the acid with the sample and the liberation of HCN. A small amount of ethanol added to the top of the blood was found to be the most effective means to prevent frothing during aeration. The relative standard deviation (RSD) for repetitive determination of blood samples containing 9 μM CN was 1.09% (n = 5). The technique was compared blind with a standard microdiffusion-spectrophotometric method used for the determination of cyanide in rabbit blood. The results showed good correlation (slope 1.05, r(2) 0.9257); independent calibration standards were used.

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