3rd December 2018

Detection of metal ions in the body using hydrogen gas

In light of recent reports in The Guardian newspaper regarding a two-fold increase in issues relating to medical devices since 2008, we wanted to highlight a study conducted by PEAK Scientific and Analytik Jena into the detection of metal ions in different matrices into the body following joint replacement surgeries.

A person holding their knee with a red glow highlighting the injury

'The Implant Files' investigation findings published by The Guardian newspaper have revealed that faulty medical implants harm patients around the world due to poor regulation and lack of monitoring and evaluation. One of the ways in which a medical device could harm a patient is via biocorrosion, or microbiologically influenced corrosion.

In 2017, PEAK Scientific collaborated in a study with Analytik Jena to determine low levels of Chromium in Biological Samples by ICP-MS using hydrogen as a reaction gas. Chromium is used in many metal alloys used for metal implants. Although these implants are coated with inert surface layer coatings, over time these coatings can break down, as a result of biocorrosion, which can result in metal ions leeching into the body. Metal ions can therefore be detected in different bodily fluids, which present a challenge for analysis of ions.

It is therefore vitally important that metal ions which make their way into the body can be accurately detected so that biocorrosion of metal medical devices can be detected at the earliest opportunity. One key challenge alongside detection of chromium ions in difficult matrices is interference of the chromium (52Cr) signal by recombination of background plasma 40Ar and sample-specific matrix 12C in inductively coupled plasma–mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) analysis. In the white paper 'Determination of Low Levels of Chromium in Biological Samples by ICP-MS Using Hydrogen as a Reaction Gas' results showed that this interference can be eliminated by using hydrogen instead of helium in the collision–reaction cell as a reaction gas to allow more accurate analysis of 52Cr.

You can read the full whitepaper here


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