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Anal Chim Acta. 2013 Mar 20;768:129-35. doi: 10.1016/j.aca.2013.01.029. Epub 2013 Feb 1.

A disposable blood cyanide sensor.

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Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX 76019-0065, USA.


Deaths due to smoke inhalation in fires are often due to poisoning by HCN. Rapid administration of antidotes can result in complete resuscitation of the patient but judicious dosing requires the knowledge of the level of cyanide exposure. Rapid sensitive means for blood cyanide quantitation are needed. Hydroxocyanocobinamide (OH(CN)Cbi) reacts with cyanide rapidly; this is accompanied by a large spectral change. The disposable device consists of a pair of nested petri dish bottoms and a single top that fits the outer bottom dish. The top cover has a diametrically strung porous polypropylene membrane tube filled with aqueous OH(CN)Cbi. One end of the tube terminates in an amber (583nm) light emitting diode; the other end in a photodiode via an acrylic optical fiber. An aliquot of the blood sample is put in the inner dish, the assembly covered and acid is added through a port in the cover. Evolved HCN diffuses into the OH(CN)Cbi solution and the absorbance in the long path porous membrane tube cell is measured within 160 s. The LOD was 0.047, 1.0, 0.15, 5.0 and 2.2 μM, respectively, for water (1 mL), bovine blood (100 μL, 1 mL), and rabbit blood (20 μL, 50 μL). RSDs were<10% in all cases and the linear range extended from 0.5 to 200 μM. The method was validated against a microdiffusion approach and applied to the measurement of cyanide in rabbit and human blood. The disposable device permits field measurement of blood cyanide in <4 min.

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