Visible and near infrared transmission and diffuse reflection spectroscopy were used to monitor changes in whole blood resulting from hemodialysis treatment for end-stage renal disease. Blood samples from 8 patients on chronic hemodialysis therapy were measured in the 500- to 1700-nm wavelength range immediately before and after a single treatment. Principal component scores characteristic of each spectrum were derived, and mean pre- and posttreatment scores of the first principal component indicated a significant treatment-dependent change in both optical transmission (P = 0.004) and diffuse reflection (P < 0.001). Significant treatment-induced change persisted (P < 0.05) when the first four principal components were used to account for >97% of the treatment-dependent spectral variation. Some blood spectral changes expressed in terms of difference spectra (posttreatment - pretreatment) were consistent with standard clinical indicators of weight reduction, urea reduction, and potassium change, with probable origins at a molecular level. The results indicate the feasibility of using optical transmission and diffuse reflection spectroscopy to characterize clinically relevant blood changes for the future development of more comprehensive indicators of hemodialysis efficacy and long-term clinical outcomes. Moreover, the optical techniques employed are adaptable for potential online monitoring of blood changes during the hemodialysis treatment.
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