Hand-held potassium monitor for home use in Gitelman Syndrome
Gitelman Syndrome (GS) is a rare kidney disorder where magnesium, potassium and salt are wasted into the urine instead of being re-absorbed into the blood stream. Patients take high doses of multiple supplements every day to compensate for the lost electrolytes, but this causes unpleasant gastrointestinal side effects and presents a high medication burden.
Patient members of Gitelman Syndrome UK proposed the idea of a hand-held, finger-prick device that could be used to monitor their blood potassium levels. The device would be similar to glucometers with disposable chips used regularly by diabetics. An immediate reading of blood potassium would enable patients to dose accordingly, ideally reducing the number of tablets and subsequent side effects.
In collaboration with the Department of Chemistry, University of Cambridge and funded by Kidney Research UK and Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust, the device and sensors have been developed. Led by Prof Fiona Karet, the team went on to found Kalium Health Ltd to help support this project and other future research, and are continually consulting with patients. They are now working on a ‘proof of concept’ study. If monitoring your blood potassium at home is relevant to you, please complete this short, anonymous My Potassium Sensor survey.