Validation of the i-STAT system for the analysis of blood gases and acid-base status in juvenile sandbar shark (Carcharhinus plumbeus)

Harter, T.S., Morrison, P.R., Mandelman, J.W., Rummer, J.L., Farrell, A.P., Brill, R.W., and Brauner, C.J. (2015) Validation of the i-STAT system for the analysis of blood gases and acid-base status in juvenile sandbar shark (Carcharhinus plumbeus). Conservation Physiology, 3 (1). cov002. pp. 1-10.

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Accurate measurements of blood gases and acid–base status require an array of sophisticated laboratory equipment that is typically not available during field research; such is the case for many studies on the stress physiology, ecology and conservation of elasmobranch fish species. Consequently, researchers have adopted portable clinical analysers that were developed for the analysis of human blood characteristics, but often without thoroughly validating these systems for their use on fish. The aim of our study was to test the suitability of the i-STAT system, the most commonly used portable clinical analyser in studies on fish, for analysing blood gases and acid–base status in elasmobranchs, over a broad range of conditions and using the sandbar shark (Carcharhinus plumbeus) as a model organism. Our results indicate that the i-STAT system can generate useful measurements of whole blood pH, and the use of appropriate correction factors may increase the accuracy of results. The i-STAT system was, however, unable to generate reliable results for measurements of partial pressure of oxygen (PO2) and the derived parameter of haemoglobin O2 saturation. This is probably due to the effect of a closed-system temperature change on PO2 within the i-STAT cartridge and the fact that the temperature correction algorithms used by i-STAT assume a human temperature dependency of haemoglobin–O2 binding; in many ectotherms, this assumption will lead to equivocal i-STAT PO2 results. The in vivo partial pressure of CO2 (PCO2) in resting sandbar sharks is probably below the detection limit for PCO2 in the i-STAT system, and the measurement of higher PCO2 tensions was associated with a large measurement error. In agreement with previous work, our results indicate that the i-STAT system can generate useful data on whole blood pH in fishes, but not blood gases.

Item ID: 45314
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2051-1434
Keywords: carbon dioxide tension; elasmobranch; oxygen tension; pH; portable clinical analyser
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© The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press and the Society for Experimental Biology.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Funders: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)
Date Deposited: 28 Aug 2016 22:00
FoR Codes: 10 TECHNOLOGY > 1004 Medical Biotechnology > 100402 Medical Biotechnology Diagnostics (incl Biosensors) @ 34%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0606 Physiology > 060603 Animal Physiology Systems @ 33%
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