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J Anal Toxicol. 2012 Nov-Dec;36(9):601-7. doi: 10.1093/jat/bks071. Epub 2012 Sep 19.

Evaluation of high-resolution mass spectrometry for urine toxicology screening in a pain management setting.

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Washington University School of Medicine, Saint Louis, MO 63110, USA.


To evaluate liquid chromatography-high-resolution mass spectrometry (LC-HR-MS) for urine toxicology screening, 29 analytes were quantitated in 152 urine specimens from patients with chronic pain using two unique mass spectrometry platforms. De-identified specimens were quantitated in April of 2011 by liquid chromatography-triple quadrupole mass spectrometry (LC-MS-MS) and by full-scan LC-HR-MS at Millennium Laboratories. Considering LC-MS-MS as the reference method, false positive results were identified in 19 specimens measured by LC-HR-MS. Application of relative retention times using deuterium labeled internal standards improved the rate of false positive detection to only five specimens, with four occurring for the same analyte. Ultra-high-resolution mass spectrometry (R = 100,000 at m/z 200) showed no improvement over high-resolution mass spectrometry (R = 10,000 at m/z 200) in the number of false positives detected. Quantitative results measured by LC-MS-MS and LC-HR-MS showed good agreement over four orders of dynamic range. This study demonstrates that LC-HR-MS is a suitable platform for toxicology screening for a pain management population and that quantitative accuracy and sensitivity are comparable to that achieved with LC-MS-MS. The specificity of LC-HR-MS is improved by the addition of deuterium labeled internal standards and the implementation of relative retention time matching.

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