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Add-on testing: stability assessment of 63 biochemical analytes in centrifuged and capped samples stored at 16 °C.

OBJECTIVES: Integration of add-on testing in high-scale automated clinical laboratories constitute a valuable instrument not only for the clinicians and the general patient care, but also for the laboratory itself. Knowledge on sample quality and analytical stability upon storage is necessary to be able to offer add-on testing. The objectives of this study were to examine the analytical stability of 63 biochemical analytes in plasma and urine samples stored at 16 °C.

METHODS: Samples were collected by professional laboratory technicians, analyzed at automated analyzers and stored in their primary, capped tube without separator for 10, 12, 16, 20 or 24 h at 16 °C. Stability was assessed by inspecting mean concentration of samples at baseline and examining if (A) mean concentration over time violated limits of bias, or if (B) individual sample concentrations violated limits of total error.

RESULTS: The majority of the 63 analytes were stable for up to 24 h of storage. Few of the analytes were only suitable for add-on testing for 4, 6, 10, 12, 16 or 20 h of storage. One analyte, P-lactate dehydrogenase, was not found suitable for add-on testing when stored at 16 °C.

CONCLUSIONS: Due to the increasing number of intelligent solutions for high-scale clinical laboratories, add-on testing has come to stay. Loss of stability could not be demonstrated for the majority of analytes after 10, 12, 16, 20 or 24 h of storage. This feature of analytical stability suggests that add-on testing is an acceptable tool for these analytes.

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