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Crit Rev Clin Lab Sci. 2013 Jul-Oct;50(4-5):107-24. doi: 10.3109/10408363.2013.844679.

Body fluid analysis: clinical utility and applicability of published studies to guide interpretation of today's laboratory testing in serous fluids.

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Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, Mayo Clinic , Rochester, MN , USA.


Requests for testing various analytes in serous fluids (e.g., pleural, peritoneal, pericardial effusions) are submitted daily to clinical laboratories. Testing of these fluids deviates from assay manufacturers' specifications, as most laboratory assays are optimized for testing blood or urine specimens. These requests add a burden to clinical laboratories, which need to validate assay performance characteristics in these fluids to exclude matrix interferences (given the different composition of body fluids) while maintaining regulatory compliance. Body fluid testing for a number of analytes has been reported in the literature; however, understanding the clinical utility of these analytes is critical because laboratories must address the analytic and clinical validation requirements, while educating clinicians on proper test utilization. In this article, we review the published data to evaluate the clinical utility of testing for numerous analytes in body fluid specimens. We also highlight the pre-analytic and analytic variables that need to be considered when reviewing published studies in body fluid testing. Finally, we provide guidance on how published studies might (or might not) guide interpretation of test results in today's clinical laboratories.

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