Study reveals differing electrolyte measurements between point-of-care and reference analysers in dogs with hypoadrenocorticism - Veterinary Practice
Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now


Study reveals differing electrolyte measurements between point-of-care and reference analysers in dogs with hypoadrenocorticism

Comparing numerical results from different analytical methods can be dangerous for patients

A new study, published in the latest issue of the Journal of Small Animal Practice (JSAP), showed that there were inherent differences between the electrolyte concentrations measured by point-of-care analysers and reference laboratory methods in dogs with hypoadrenocorticism.

The study titled “Electrolyte measurements differ between point-of-care and reference analysers in dogs with hypoadrenocorticism” investigated the performance of two point-of-care analysers (IDEXX Catalyst Dx and IDEXX VetStat) against a reference laboratory method for the measurement of blood sodium, potassium and chloride concentrations, as well as sodium-to-potassium ratios, in dogs diagnosed with and treated for hypoadrenocorticism.

Forty-eight dogs with hypoadrenocorticism were enrolled into a prospective cross-sectional study at the University of Glasgow. In total, 329 paired samples were measured on the Catalyst analyser and by the reference laboratory method called an ion selective electrode (ISE), while another 72 paired samples were tested on both the VetStat analyser and by ISE. The clinical effects of any difference in the electrolyte results were investigated.

Sam Fowlie, corresponding author for the paper, said: “Our results indicate that the sodium, potassium and therefore the sodium-to-potassium ratios, as well as the chloride concentrations measured by the Catalyst and VetStat analysers may not be used interchangeably with those from a reference laboratory analyser using an indirect ISE method. Both analysers tended to give higher results than the reference method for all analytes, except for potassium when measured on the VetStat.”

The clinical relevance of the disagreement between these methods was investigated by assessing how often the point-of-care analysers produced results which fell outside their reference range when the ISE method found them to be within reference and vice versa. For the Catalyst, there were 21 cases (6 percent) with discordant sodium results, 27 cases (8 percent) with discordant potassium results and 46 cases (14 percent) with discordant chloride results. The VetStat, meanwhile produced results which disagreed with the ISE method in 19 cases (26 percent) for sodium, 3 cases (4 percent) for potassium measurement and 9 cases (13 percent) for chloride analysis.

Nicola Di Girolamo, Editor of JSAP added: “This study reveals significant systematic differences (’bias’) between the three analysers in this study. Comparing numerical results from different analytical methods – be they point-of-care or reference laboratories – can be dangerous for patients. Clinicians should always use method specific thresholds and, if these are not available (for example the sodium-to-potassium ratios on some analysers), then they should exercise greater caution in their interpretation.”

The full article can be found in the October issue of the Journal of Small Animal Practice and be read online. The original early on-line version article has had some amendments pertaining to two minor flaws which do not affect the conclusions of the paper. It is open access and can be freely accessed by anyone.

The Journal of Small Animal Practice is published monthly and access to all articles is free for BSAVA members. For information on how to become a BSAVA member visit the website.

The BSAVA has launched an exciting series of science webinars, taking a closer look at some of the papers published in the Journal of Small Animal Practice. In the webinars, authors of featured papers discuss the results and application of their papers with a panel. Two new webinars have recently been added: Is there a link between bacteriuria and a reversible encephalopathy in dogs and cats? and RHDV2 epidemic in UK pet rabbits. The webinars are free to access.

Veterinary Practice

Veterinary Practice is an online knowledge and information hub for veterinary professionals across all specialties. It provides reliable, useful and interesting content, written by expert authors and covering small animal, large animal, equine and practice management sectors of the veterinary surgeon and nursing professions.

More from this author

Have you heard about our
IVP Membership?

A wide range of veterinary CPD and resources by leading veterinary professionals.

Stress-free CPD tracking and certification, you’ll wonder how you coped without it.

Discover more