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Clin Chem. 2008 Jan;54(1):39-43. Epub 2007 Nov 12.

A critical appraisal of current practice in the detection, analysis, and reporting of cryoglobulins.

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  • 1Department of Laboratory Medicine, Immunology, University Hospitals Leuven, Catholic University of Leuven, Herestraat 49, Leuven, Belgium.


To assess current practice in the detection, analysis, and reporting of cryoglobulins, a questionnaire was sent to 140 laboratories. Only 36% of laboratories used standard procedures (tube preheating, transport in container, and sedimentation and/or centrifugation at 37 degrees C) to ensure that the temperature did not drop below 37 degrees C until after serum separation. Time periods allowed for cryoprecipitation at 4 degrees C varied from 12 h to 9 days, with 30% of laboratories allowing precipitation for <3 days. After cryoprecipitation, 81% of laboratories resolubilized the cryoprecipitate at 37 degrees C, and 77% further immunotyped the cryoprecipitate. After analysis, 5% referred the sample for confirmation, 58% provided a nonquantitative report, and 37% reported the cryoglobulin concentration in the cryoprecipitate as cryocrit, total protein concentration, and/or immunoglobulin concentration. Only 3 laboratories (2%) provided cryoprecipitate-specific reference values for total protein content, and none provided reference values for immunoglobulins. We believe standardization is needed for cryoglobulin detection to avoid missed diagnoses and improve the comparability of results. Laboratories should ensure that sample temperature does not drop below 37 degrees C until after serum separation. The serum should cryoprecipitate at 4 degrees C for at least 3 (preferably 7) days. The cryoprecipitate should be washed and resolubilized at 37 degrees C for further analysis.

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