Determination of serum calcium levels by 42Ca isotope dilution inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry

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We developed a reference method for measuring serum calcium levels by isotope dilution inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ID ICP-MS), using 42Ca as the enriched isotope. Serum was digested with 69% ultrapure nitric acid and diluted to a suitable concentration. The 44Ca/42Ca ratio was detected in H2 mode; spike concentration was calibrated by reverse IDMS using standard reference material (SRM) 3109a, and sample concentration was measured by a bracketing procedure. We compared the performance of ID ICP-MS with those of three other reference methods in China using the same serum and aqueous samples.


The relative expanded uncertainty of the sample concentration was 0.414% (k=2). The range of repeatability (within-run imprecision), intermediate imprecision (between-run imprecision), and intra-laboratory imprecision were 0.12%-0.19%, 0.07%-0.09%, and 0.16%-0.17%, respectively, for two of the serum samples. SRM909bI, SRM909bII, SRM909c, and GBW09152 were found to be within the certified value interval, with mean relative bias values of 0.29%, −0.02%, 0.10%, and −0.19%, respectively. The range of recovery was 99.87%-100.37%. Results obtained by ID ICP-MS showed a better accuracy than and were highly correlated with those of other reference methods.


ID ICP-MS is a simple and accurate candidate reference method for serum calcium measurement and can be used to establish and improve serum calcium reference system in China.

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