Key messaqes

• Current technology has allowed the development of various biochemical monitors which work through either electrochemical potential gradient differences or optical changes related to solute concentrations.

• Unfortunately, continuing problems with biocompatibility have limited the clinical application of these monitors.

• Further investigation will undoubtedly define improved sensing techniques which maintain reliability in vivo through improved efforts at biocompatibility while minimizing risk to the biological system.

• Clinical situations which warrant instantaneous interpretation of electrolyte, metabolite, and solute concentrations are few. Bedside analyzers or intensive care unit stat laboratories have also improved greatly and often give results for clinical use very rapidly.

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