Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is a clear fluid that surrounds and protects the brain and spinal cord. In an emergency room setting, it is vital to decisively differentiate CSF leakage from blood and mucus in trauma patients to avoid life-threatening infections and strokes that can permanently damage the central nervous system. The current CSF detection method, the halo sign test, is a qualitative test that has high rates of false positives and negatives.
An electronic device was developed to increase the accuracy and precision of CSF leakage detection in the emergency room. It measures visible light absorption and emittance of a reaction in which the protein lactoferrin, modelling beta-2-transferrin in CSF, reduces gold (III) chloride (AuCl3) to form gold nanoparticle clusters that emit light. The device leverages computational power to rapidly predict the reaction’s end result, determining if CSF is present within minutes.