A survey of haematology reference intervals
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This study was designed to create a snapshot of Australian haematology reference intervals (RIs) in use, in particular red cell parameters. We present an analysis of survey results conducted across Australian laboratories between Novem¬ ber 2012 and January 2013. All Australian laboratories enrolled in the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia Quality Assurance Program (RCPA QAP) were invited to participate in the December 2012 Survey Monkey survey, with a response from 85 laboratories (17%) received. The scope included laboratory demographics (location, size/ throughput, and network), RIs in use for the full blood count and selected derived parameters, their frequency of revi¬ sion, source and statistical approach for derivation. Further questions related to uncertainty of measurement, preg¬ nancy values, paediatric/adult cut-off, haematology profiles reported and the use of extended parameters. There is more consistency with some upper and lower limits than others, and wide ranges for reported uncertainty of measurement (DM). There is no apparent consistency with RIs used for particular instruments and technologies. When laboratories change their RIs, most obtain them from a text book, paper or another laboratory and have difficulty in determining the source. If they do determine their own, most don't have a standard operating procedure and calculations are not con¬ sistent in terms of sample size and statistical methods used. We have presented evidence of the wide variations in RIs used in Australian laboratories and that arguably these do not differ significantly from each other. The paediatric age cut-off requires standardisation.
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