Background: Serum Protein Electrophoresis (SPE) is crucial for the diagnosis and follow-up of monoclonal gammopathy (MG), as it helps to separate and identify these paraproteins. Currently, Pakistan lacks standardized guidelines for SPE reporting and analytical performance. This survey aims to analyze reporting variations from Consultant Chemical Pathologists in Pakistani laboratories.
Methods: This cross-sectional survey was conducted by the section of Chemical Pathology, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, at Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi. A previously validated and published tool was used with some modifications to assess analytical techniques, reporting patterns, and interpretations provided with SPE by different laboratories. Frequency and percentages were calculated for each response and descriptive results were also evaluated. Differences between laboratories were also assessed qualitatively.
Results: Out of the eight laboratories contacted, seven participated in the survey, yielding a response rate of 87.5%. Immunofixation Electrophoresis (IFE) was used by all labs for serum immunotyping. All labs reported a new small abnormal band in patients with no known monoclonal gammopathy or with a known M-protein. Variations were found in terminologies used to label paraprotein, terminologies used to report normal and pathological SPE patterns, electrophoretic technique, methods for quantifying paraprotein in the gamma region on SPE and for albumin quantification. Similarly, the number of decimal places reported, reporting of multiple monoclonal proteins and small paraprotein in the beta region or monoclonal proteins less than 1 g/L, approach for screening, number of fractions reported in gamma region and reporting of interferences were also not standardized and var-iations were noticed.
Conclusions: Our survey highlighted variations in practices of SPE reporting. These differences in laboratory practices could result in inconsistent test results, which could adversely affect patient care.