BACKGROUND: Measurements of serum and plasma albumin are widely used in medicine, including as indicators of quality of patient care in renal dialysis centers.
METHODS: Pools were prepared from residual patient serum (n = 50) and heparin plasma (n = 48) from patients without renal disease, and serum from patients with kidney failure before hemodialysis (n = 53). Albumin was measured in all samples and in ERM-DA470k/IFCC reference material (RM) by 3 immunochemical, 9 bromcresol green (BCG), and 12 bromcresol purple (BCP) methods.
RESULTS: Two of 3 immunochemical procedures, 5 of 9 BCG, and 10 of 12 BCP methods recovered the RM value within its uncertainty. One immunochemical and 3 BCG methods were biased vs the RM value. Random error components were small for all measurement procedures. The Tina-quant immunochemical method was chosen as the reference measurement procedure based on recovery and results of error analyses. Mean biases for BCG vs Tina-quant were 1.5% to 13.9% and were larger at lower albumin concentrations. BCP methods' mean biases were −5.4% to 1.2% irrespective of albumin concentration. Biases for plasma samples were generally higher than for serum samples for all method types. For most measurement procedures, biases were lower for serum from patients on hemodialysis vs patients without kidney disease.
CONCLUSIONS: Significant differences among immunochemical, BCG, and BCP methods compromise interpretation of serum albumin results. Guidelines and calculations for clinical management of kidney and other diseases must consider the method used for albumin measurement until harmonization can be achieved.
- Received for publication June 24, 2016.
- Accepted for publication October 31, 2016.
- © 2016 American Association for Clinical Chemistry