About 0·01 ml. of blood taken from a finger prick is dissolved in 10 ml. of 0·04% ammonia solution. The solution is divided into two halves, and oxygen is bubbled through one half to convert any carboxyhaemoglobin into oxyhaemoglobin. The spectra of the two halves are then compared in a spectrophotometer, and the difference between them is used to estimate the carboxyhaemoglobin content of the blood either graphically or by calculation from a simple formula. Calibration is simple and need only be done once. A sample of blood can be analysed in about 20 minutes, which includes the time to collect the sample. The method is sensitive enough to be used for the analysis of solutions of blood containing less than 1% carboxyhaemoglobin.
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