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Tiny Technology Measures Platelet Health Within Minutes

University of Washington shared this video on Youtube!

Nathan Sniadecki is a UW mechanical engineering researcher. He and his team collaborated with UW Medicine to make a new device that can quickly test blood to determine if a patient’s platelets are healthy. Platelets are tiny cells that make blood clot at a wound site, and can be inhibited by aspirin or blood thinners. Knowing quickly how well platelets are functioning is especially important in emergency room situations, where a patient with low functioning platelets may need a blood transfusion.

The device is a bit bigger than a stick of gum, and has tiny channels for blood to flow through it. For the blood test, the blood moves over a microscopic field of blocks and pliable posts. They act like a would site, and the platelets begin to cluster around them. As the cells tighten together, they bend the post. Platelet health can be measured through looking at how far the cells pull the post toward the block.

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