SUDBURY -- Health Sciences North in Sudbury is hoping to keep its littlest patients closer to home with a newly acquired chloridometer.

The instrument is used in the HSN laboratories to diagnose children, as young as newborns, with cystic fibrosis by measuring the amount of the chloride in their sweat.

Children with the genetic disorder can have elevated amounts of chloride in their sweat.

Dr. Vijay Kumar has been a pediatrician in the city for 35 years and says this new equipment has been on the NEO Kids & Family Program wish list for some time.

"We currently do genetic testing for newborns, but the sweat chloride test helps to confirm the diagnosis," said Dr. Kumar.

The pediatrician adds that now that testing is available locally, patients no longer have to travel to Toronto or Ottawa.

Previously when patients were referred to southern Ontario, they often would continue their treatment with the specialist who confirmed their diagnosis.

The HSN lab is also able to do the testing for samples provided by other hospitals in the northeast including North Bay, Timmins, Kapuskasing and Matheson.

The chloridometer was purchased by the NEO Kids Foundation through funds raised in the community.