This work describes a new method for determining K+ concentration, [K+], in blood plasma using a smartphone with a custom-built optical attachment. The method is based on turbidity measurement of blood plasma solutions in the presence of sodium tetraphenylborate, a known potassium precipitating reagent. The images obtained by a smartphone camera are analyzed by a custom image-processing algorithm which enables the transformation of the image data from RGB to HSV color space and calculation of a mean value of the light-intensity component (V). Analysis of images of blood plasma containing different amounts of K+ reveal a correlation between V and [K+]. The accuracy of the method was confirmed by comparing the results with the results obtained using commercial ion-selective electrode device (ISE) and atomic absorption spectroscopy (AAS). The accuracy of the method was within ± 0.18 mM and precision ± 0.27 mM in the [K+] range of 1.5–7.5 mM when using treated blood plasma calibration. Spike tests on a fresh blood plasma show good correlation of the data obtained by the smartphone method with ISE and AAS. The advantage of the method is low cost and integration with a smartphone which offers possibility to measure [K+] on demand and in remote areas where access to hospitals is limited.
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