BACKGROUND: Recently, the use of separate gender-partitioned patient medians of serum sodium has revealed potential for monitoring analytical stability within the optimum analytical performance specifications for laboratory medicine. The serum albumin concentration depends on whether a patient is sitting or recumbent during phlebotomy. We therefore investigated only examinations requested by general practitioners (GPs) to provide data from sitting patients.
METHODS: Weekly and monthly patient medians of serum albumin requested by GP for both male and female patients were calculated from the raw data obtained from three analysers in the hospital laboratory on examination of samples from those >18 years. The half-range of medians were applied as an estimate of the maximum bias. Further, the ratios between the two medians were calculated (females/males).
RESULTS: The medians for male and female patients were closely related despite considerable variation due to the current analytical variation. This relationship was confirmed by the calculated half-range for the monthly ratio between the genders of 0.44%, which surpasses the optimum analytical performance specification for bias of serum albumin (0.72%). The weekly ratio had a half-range of 1.83%, which surpasses the minimum analytical performance specifications of 2.15%.
CONCLUSIONS: Monthly gender-partitioned patient medians of serum albumin are useful for monitoring of long-term analytical stability, where the gender medians are two independent estimates of changes in (delta) bias: only results requested by GP are of value in this application to ensure that all patients are sitting during phlebotomy.
- Journal Article