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Auto analyser

Introduction
y A large part of the work of the clinical chemistry laboratory
in a hospital is to estimate the concentrations of various ions,
molecules and enzymes in samples of body fluids taken from
the tissues, blood, urine, cerebro-spinal fluid, etc.
y For many of these tests the analysis procedure consists of
splitting the sample for the number of separate investigations
requested, diluting these sub-samples, adding the reagents,
heating, mixing, etc. and then analysing in a colorimeter,
flame or spectrophotometer or other detector.
Auto analyser
Types
y Since these tests are required in large numbers automated
apparatus has become available which takes in samples at one
end and prints the results at the other. There are three main
types of auto analyser each with its own advantages and
disadvantages.
y 1. Continuous flow analysers
y 2. Centrifugal analysers
y 3. Discrete sample analyser
Continuous flow analysers
y These employ an intrigueing system by which the subdivided sample and
a quantity of reagent are drawn through a long narrow plastic tube to
the detection device.
y The necessary chemical reaction takes place during the time the bolus of
fluid is passing along the tube, and it may be accelerated by heating if
this is necessary for the particular chemical process involved.
y After a sample and quantity of reagent have been fed into the tube an air
bubble is introduced followed by water, followed by another air bubble
before the next sample.
y With this arrangement each sample with reagent is allowed to pass along
the tube without mixing with any other in the same continuous flow
stream. The meniscus of the bubble serves to clean the inside of the tube
to prevent contamination of the samples.
Centrifugal analysers
y In these the sample and reagent are pipetted into wells
(e.g. 30 of each) in the rotor of a centrifuge. When the
centrifuge is started each sample and reagent pair is
spun down into a cuvette on the edge of the rotor
where they pass between the light source and
photometer of a colorimeter.
y An electronic system identifies the photometric results
to the correct sample and reagent cuvette, and can
monitor the progress of the reaction in each cuvette.
y The end-point of each reaction can be identified and
used in the same way as the continuous flow analyser,
but it is also possible to identify reaction rate which is
useful in estimating enzyme concentration.
Discrete sample analyser
y In these the sample is diluted and separated into a number of
sub-samples appropriate to the number of tests requested.
These are then mixed with reagents and the necessary time
or heat treatment given before passing to a detector device to
monitor the end point.
y Although this system appears more clumsy than the
continuous flow analyser its advantage is that the machine
can be programmed to perform only those tests which are
requested, so saving on expense.
y Also it may be possible to have a bigger battery of tests
available, though not all on need to be performed on the
same sample.
Semi auto analyzer