Verification of chemistry reference ranges using a simple method in sub-Saharan Africa

Irith De Baetselier, Douglas Taylor, Justin Mandala, Kavita Nanda, Christel Van Campenhout, Walter Agingu, Lorna Madurai, Eva-Maria Barsch, Jennifer Deese, Lutgart Van Damme, Tania Crucitti

    Research output: Contribution to journalA2: International peer reviewed article (not A1-type)peer-review

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    Background: Chemistry safety assessments are interpreted by using chemistry reference ranges (CRRs). Verification of CRRs is time consuming and often requires a statistical background.

    Objectives: We report on an easy and cost-saving method to verify CRRs.

    Methods: Using a former method introduced by Sigma Diagnostics, three study sites in sub- Saharan Africa, Bondo, Kenya, and Pretoria and Bloemfontein, South Africa, verified the CRRs for hepatic and renal biochemistry assays performed during a clinical trial of HIV antiretroviral pre-exposure prophylaxis. The aspartate aminotransferase/alanine aminotransferase, creatinine and phosphorus results from 10 clinically-healthy participants at the screening visit were used. In the event the CRRs did not pass the verification, new CRRs had to be calculated based on 40 clinically-healthy participants.

    Results: Within a few weeks, the study sites accomplished verification of the CRRs without additional costs. The aspartate aminotransferase reference ranges for the Bondo, Kenya site and the alanine aminotransferase reference ranges for the Pretoria, South Africa site required adjustment. The phosphorus CRR passed verification and the creatinine CRR required adjustment at every site. The newly-established CRR intervals were narrower than the CRRs used previously at these study sites due to decreases in the upper limits of the reference ranges. As a result, more toxicities were detected.

    Conclusion: To ensure the safety of clinical trial participants, verification of CRRs should be standard practice in clinical trials conducted in settings where the CRR has not been validated for the local population. This verification method is simple, inexpensive, and can be performed by any medical laboratory.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalAfrican Journal of Laboratory Medicine
    Issue number1
    Pages (from-to)8
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


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