Background: This study aimed to evaluate delta check limits set by reference change value (RCV) and patient data.
Methods: Patient data of 11 clinical chemistry analytes from June 2018 to May 2019 were collected. RCV with 95% or 99% levels of probability were calculated based on biological variation. The corresponding delta check limits for outpatients and inpatients were calculated by 95% or 99% central range of delta% which was the difference of two consecutive results within thirty days of the same patient for each analyte. Patient data in June 2019 were used to analyze the utility of delta check limits.
Results: In total, 434,927 paired results for these 11 analytes were included. The delta check limits were different between outpatients and inpatients, but were wider than those established by RCV. The difference between Glu's outpatient and inpatient boundaries was the largest, 95% central range from the outpatient (inpatients) was from -32.29% (-56.97%) to 38.78% (106.00%) while 99% central range from the outpatient (inpatients) was from -56.86% (-90.56%) to 89.96% (262.54%). The RCV is mainly determined by within-individual biological variation so that the RCV of each analyte varied from each other. As for RCV, Na had the lowest value and BUN had the highest one. In addition, the main reason for delta% exceeding delta check limits was a clinically significant change.
Conclusions: Laboratories could use delta check procedure to find out errors in sample collection and monitor clinical significance. When delta% of patients exceed corresponding delta check limits in a short time, clinicians and personnel of clinical laboratory should pay more attention. Delta check limits should be reviewed regularly to check the utility of procedure.