Non-invasive Blood Alcohol Sensor for Emergency Room Applications

Period of Performance: 09/20/2013 - 08/31/2014


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Intelligent Optical Systems, Inc.
2520 W. 237th Street Array
Torrance, CA 90505
Principal Investigator


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Project Summary Accurate quantification of alcohol and drugs of abuse intoxication in emergency rooms (ERs) is an important screening step for a precise diagnosis and hence for prompt treatment. Some severe emergencies such as traumatic head injury, diabetes, and stroke can be misdiagnosed in the absence of screening for alcohol and drug intoxication;reliable measurement of alcohol and drug intake levels would improve diagnosis and subsequent treatment in these cases. Most methods now used in emergency rooms either require patient cooperation and interaction, such as a Breathalyzer, or are invasive and have prolonged processing times, such as blood and urine sample analysis, making them inappropriate for ER applications. In particular, patients suffering from drug and alcohol intoxication are often not able, or are unwilling, to interact with medical personnel, hence the need for easier sampling and reliable measurement. To address this need, Intelligent Optical Systems is collaborating with Dr. Robert Woolard of Texas Tech University Health Science Center (TTUHSC) Emergency Medicine Department, a recognized expert in alcohol and drugs of abuse in ER-related studies, in our development for a non-invasive saliva-based analyzer for ER applications. The analyzer measures emissions of fluorescent-labeled selective reagents to detect alcohol and drugs of abuse in saliva samples. Although saliva monitoring is an established area for alcohol and drugs of abuse, accurate quantitative measurements are still needed to quantify the intoxication levels in admitted ER patients without relying on visual judgments. In Phase I we demonstrated the feasibility of achieving reproducible, highly sensitive measurements of alcohol levels in buffer and modeled saliva, as well as in 30 human saliva samples obtained by Dr. Woolard and TTUHSC that were tested and compared to blood levels. In Phase II we will test an additional 100 human samples to expand the statistical data and determine sensor accuracy and precision levels, introduce a method for quantitative (high/mid/low) measurement of six drugs of abuse (opiates, cocaine, amphetamines, THC, benzodiazepines, barbiturates), and develop the portable readout system. The objective is a simple yet highly accurate optical detection platform suitable for bedside ER applications, with further potential for widespread clinical monitoring applications in many healthcare settings.