Urea Electrolysis as a Medical Devices Platform

G.G. Botte
Ohio University - Center for Electrochemical Engineering Research,
United States

Keywords: urea sensor, dialysis machine, pathology, kidney disease, portable devices, biomedical waste


In clinical diagnostics, monitoring urea in blood provides information on kidney’s disease with the normal range of urea level in serum ranges from 1.7mM to 8.3mM. However, under pathological conditions, urea levels in blood can reach up to 100 mM. Currently most urea sensors utilize immobilized urease to catalyze urea decomposition into ammonia, hydroxide, and bicarbonate ions. On the other hand, a universal urea sensor that can operate with different interchangeable working and reference electrodes in a variety of conditions would be useful as it provides stability and flexibility. Furthermore, the technology that this device is based on could serve as a foundation for portable dialysis machines. This is because the technology is based on urea electrolysis - conversion of urea into benign molecules - and is the basis for both detection and conversion of the urea molecule. The use of this technology would deliver a smaller footprint, decrease in water consumption, reduction in cost and improvement and extension of patient life. In summary, urea electrolysis as a platform for both urea sensors and portable dialysis provides versatility and stability for sensor applications as well as reduction of cost and consumables for dialysis applications.