Background: Clinical laboratory reference intervals are derived from a sample of selected healthy population and they are used for disease diagnosis, management, and monitoring. International guidelines recommended that laboratories and manufacturers are supposed to establish their own RIs for a certain group of population. Therefore, the aim of this narrative review is to summarize the current status and to show future directions regarding reference intervals of clinical laboratory parameters among Ethiopian population.
Methods: PubMed, Google Scholar, and Google databases were searched to access relevant reference interval studies in Ethiopia. Journal articles, guidelines, reports, and related documents published in English language were included without publication period restriction.
Results: Fifteen studies were conducted to establish local reference intervals for hematology, immunology, and clinical chemistry parameters in Ethiopia from 1999 - 2018. The majority of those studies determined clinical laboratory reference intervals for adults only. Some other Ethiopian reference interval studies did not include the majority of routine hematology and clinical chemistry parameters. In addition, the studies we reviewed did not consider the cultural, ethnic, demographic, and geographical diversity of Ethiopian population.
Conclusions: There is limited data regarding locally established reliable clinical laboratory reference intervals in Ethiopia though attempts are made. Therefore, further local reference interval studies should be undertaken considering the cultural, ethnic, demographical, and geographical diversity of the Ethiopian population.