Use of a Portable Point-of-Care Instrumentation to Measure Human Milk Sodium and Potassium Concentrations

Anita Esquerra-Zwiers, Alexandra Vroom, Donna Geddes, Ching Tat Lai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Human milk (HM) sodium (Na) and potassium (K) concentrations, as well as the Na and K ratio (Na:K), are associated with stages of lactation and breast health. Portable point-of-care instruments to measure HM biomarkers related to secretory activation or tight junction disturbances would supply clinicians immediate information for individualized lactation care. This study compared HM concentrations of Na and K and Na:K measured by a biochemist with inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES) and measured by a clinician with ion-selective electrode probes (ISEPs). Design: HM samples (n = 92) were participant collected and donated on day 10 postpartum through a convenience sample of breastfeeding women in West Michigan. Na and K concentrations were determined using ICP-OES and ISEPs. Bland-Altman plots, paired sample t-test, and logistic regressions were completed using R 3.4.4 and R Studio 1.2.1335 with package Lattice. Results: Na concentrations were not significantly different with ICP-OES (13.0 ± 14.8 mM) and ISEPs (12.6 ± 13.7 mM, p = 0.06), whereas K concentrations (ICP-OES 16.1 ± 1.9 mM, ISEPs 14.4 ± 2.4 mM, p < 0.001) and Na:K (ICP-OES 0.81 ± 0.92, ISEPs 1.01 ± 1.62, p = 0.011) were significantly different. Between both methods, the Na, K, and Na: K linear relationships were statistically significant. Conclusion: With additional longitudinal and clinical usefulness research clinicians could use ISEPs to collect and interpret relevant lactation data to support individualized lactation interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-51
Number of pages6
JournalBreastfeeding Medicine
Issue number1
Early online date28 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022


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