Separate patient serum sodium medians from males and females provide independent information on analytical bias

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Abstract

Background:

During monitoring of monthly medians of results from patients undertaken to assess analytical stability in routine laboratory performance, the medians for serum sodium for male and female patients were found to be significantly related.

Methods:

Daily, weekly and monthly patient medians of serum sodium for both male and female patients were calculated from results obtained on samples from the population >18 years on three analysers in the hospital laboratory. The half-range of medians was applied as an estimate of the maximum bias. Further, the ratios between the two medians were calculated.

Results:

The medians of both genders demonstrated dispersions over time, but they were closely connected in like patterns, which were confirmed by the half-range of the ratios of medians for males and females that varied from 0.36% for daily, 0.14% for weekly and 0.036% for monthly ratios over all instruments.

Conclusions:

The tight relationship between the gender medians for serum sodium is only possible when raw laboratory data are used for calculation. The two patient medians can be used to confirm both and are useful as independent estimates of analytical bias during constant calibration periods. In contrast to the gender combined median, the estimate of analytical bias can be confirmed further by calculation of the ratios of medians for males and females.

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