1. The osmometer finds extensive clinical applications including diagnosis of renal activity diseases, electrolyte imbalance, hyper and hyponatremia, measuring osmolality of body fluids, intravenous therapy, blood bank, shock and trauma, nutritional support, paediatric applications and many more.
2. Osmolality is the fundamental to all physio chemical processes in the body, involving diffusion of solutes and transfer of fluids through membranes. Hence, osmolality of various body fluids has intrinsic value in the treatment and clinical management of patients.
3. Osmolality measurement of serum determines the extent of departure from the narrow range of normality (270 to 290mOsmol/kg) maintained in haemostasis.
4. Abnormal osmolality of blood can be associated with water intoxication anomalies in sodium balance, increased glucose levels (ketogenic or non ketogenic diabetes) increased urea concentration (renal failure) and burns.
5. Measurement of urine osmolality in conjunction with serum osmolality helps in assessment of renal concentration capability, and in addition would be an effective way to check effectiveness of diuretic drugs.
6. It is also useful in differential diagnosis of compulsive water intoxication and diabetes insipidus.
7. Osmolality in addition to usefulness in evaluating concentrating ability, is used to monitor ADH therapy to ascertain renal function.
8 . Measurement of urine osmolality in many situations is the method of choice over measurement of specific gravity.
9. The intravenous administration of solutions during treatment also involves risks of osmolality changes both in pre and post operative situation and serum osmolality measurements are used to monitor effectively, while treating the patient.
10. Serum osmolality also helps in controlling mannitol administration in the cerebral edema. In fact it is a good practice to check periodically, the osmolality of salines, hyperalimentation solutions and other infusions before administration, as an abundant precautionary measure.
11. In case of blood banks during thawing of frozen red cells, a number of washing steps of the cells will be required, to reduce the level of glycerol. The osmometer provides clear and direct measure of residual glycerol content in the cell suspension.
12. Often times, the theoretical calculation of osmolality is resorted to, using the formula based on sodium, glucose and urea. The difference between measured and calculated osmolality is a clear marker for treating acutely ill patients, since it indicates the high concentration of unidentified solutes in serum.
13.Measurement of osmolality also finds application in assessment of electrolyte content and sweat in the diagnosis of cystic fibrosis. The measurement of osmolality has also been suggested for screening of alcohol intoxication, since the concentration of 0.1 l/dl of alcohol
would increase osmolality by 22mOsmol/kg. This is significant when compared with 290mOsmol/kg, the normal value.
14. Another interesting use of osmometer is in interpretation of electrolyte levels found in extremely hyperlipemic sera.
15. The difference between calculated osmolality and measured osmolality is an indicator for toxicology and trauma. Only the freezing point is not affected due to the presence of alcohol and ketones and offering reliable diagnosis.
16. Osmolality measurement for hydration status for athletes, a very useful application in sports medicine, as weight class and endurance events are precursor to dehydration with performance and health related consequences.
17. Osmometer is a very useful tool to maintain the absorption of irrigation fluids like, glycine ingestion in surgical procedures involved.
18. The measurement of osmolality is the method of choice to differentiate DKA and NKH for providing guidance for effective therapy.
19. Osmometry measurement is useful for drugs screening, for ascertaining sample purity, since low urine osmolality is indicative of tampering!
20. Measurement of effective osmolality is critical in electron microscopy for ensuring proper buffering of fixative solution.
It should be clear from the above and other possible useful applications, that osmometer is an invaluable diagnostic tool in a clinical lab, ICU, ICCU, IVF, blood bank, and several other areas for routine and research applications.