Analytical Chemistry

Microsampling tools for collecting, processing, and storing blood at the point-of-care



In the wake of the COVID-19 global pandemic, self-administered microsampling tools have reemerged as an effective means to maintain routine healthcare assessments without inundating hospitals or clinics. Fingerstick collection of blood is easily performed at home, in the workplace, or at the point-of-care, obviating the need for a trained phlebotomist. While the initial collection of blood is facile, the diagnostic or clinical utility of the sample is dependent on how the sample is processed and stored prior to transport to an analytical laboratory. The past decade has seen incredible innovation for the development of new materials and technologies to collect low-volume samples of blood with excellent precision that operate independently of the hematocrit effect. The final application of that blood (i.e., the test to be performed) ultimately dictates the collection and storage approach as certain materials or chemical reagents can render a sample diagnostically useless. Consequently, there is not a single microsampling tool that is capable of addressing every clinical need at this time. In this review, we highlight technologies designed for patient-centric microsampling blood at the point-of-care and discuss their utility for quantitative sampling as a function of collection material and technique. In addition to surveying methods for collecting and storing whole blood, we emphasize the need for direct separation of the cellular and liquid components of blood to produce cell-free plasma to expand clinical utility. Integrating advanced functionality while maintaining simple user operation presents a viable means of revolutionizing self-administered microsampling, establishing new avenues for innovation in materials science, and expanding access to healthcare.


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