Measurement uncertainty and metrological traceability of whole blood cyclosporin A mass concentration results obtained by UHPLC-MS/MS

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Abstract

Background:

Traceable and accurate results of cyclosporine A (CsA) mass concentrations in whole blood are required to ensure the monitoring of immunosuppressive therapy in transplant recipients. Metrological traceability and measurement uncertainty can allow ensuring reliability and comparability of these results over time and space. In this study, we provide a practical and detailed example of how the traceability and uncertainty of mass concentration of CsA results, obtained using an ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (UHPLC-MS/MS) procedure, can be described and estimated.

Methods:

Traceability was described mainly according to ISO 17511 and information obtained from certificates facilitated with the manufacturer's calibrators. Uncertainty estimation was performed using the bottom-up and top-down approaches. For the bottom-up approach, the most relevant sources of uncertainty were identified and later used to estimate the standard, combined and expanded uncertainties. For the top-down approach, expanded uncertainty was estimated directly using intralab quality control data mainly.

Results:

Mass concentration of CsA results was traceable to the manufacturer's product calibrators used to calibrate the UHPLC-MS/MS procedure. The expanded uncertainties estimated by the bottom-up and top-down approaches were 7.4% and 7.2%, respectively.

Conclusions:

After performing the bottom-up and top-down approaches, we observed that their results were quite similar. This fact would confirm that the top-down approach could be sufficient for estimating uncertainty of CsA mass concentrations in whole blood results in clinical laboratories. Finally, we hope that this study can help and motivate clinical laboratories to describe metrological traceability and to perform measurement uncertainty studies based on the simpler top-down approach.

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