Establishing and using reference intervals


TURKISH JOURNAL OF BIOCHEMISTRY-TURK BIYOKIMYA DERGISI, vol.45, no.1, pp.1-10, 2020 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier


Reference intervals (RIs) and clinical decision limits (CDLs) are fundamental tools used by healthcare and laboratory professionals to interpret patient laboratory test results. The traditional method for establishing RIs, known as the direct approach, is based on collecting samples from members of a preselected reference population, making the measurements and then determining the intervals. For challenging groups such as pediatric and geriatric age groups, indirect methods are appointed for the derivation of RIs in the EP28-A3c guideline. However, there has been an increasing demand to use the indirect methods of deriving RIs by the use of routine laboratory data stored in the laboratory information system. International Federation of Clinical Chemistry (IFCC), Committee on Reference Intervals and Decision Limits (C-RIDL) is currently working on the study for the comparison of the conventional (direct) and alternative (indirect) approaches for the determination of reference intervals. As a matter of fact that, the process of developing RIs is often beyond the capabilities of an individual laboratory due to the complex, expensive and time-consuming process to develop them. Therefore, a laboratory can alternatively transfer and verify RIs established by an external source (i.e. manufacturers' package inserts, publications). IFCC, C-RIDL has focused primarily on RIs and has performed multicenter studies to obtain common RIs in recent years. However, as the broader responsibility of the Committee, from its name, includes "decision limits", the C-RIDL also emphasizes the importance of the correct use of both RIs and CDLs and to encourage laboratories to specify the appropriate information to clinicians as needed.