Serum vitamin A and E analysis: comparison of methods between laboratories enrolled in an external quality assurance programme

This version was published on 1 January 2010

Ann Clin Biochem 2010;47:78-80
© 2010 Association for Clinical Biochemistry


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Short Reports

Ronda Greaves1,
Lisa Jolly2,
Gerald Woollard3 and
Kirsten Hoad4

1 Department of Complex Biochemistry, The Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne;
2 RCPA Chemical Pathology QAP, Adelaide, Australia;
3 Department of Chemical Pathology, Auckland City Hospital, Auckland, New Zealand;
4 Core Clinical Pathology and Biochemistry, Pathwest Laboratory Medicine WA, Royal Perth Hospital, Western Australia, Australia, On behalf of the AACB–Vitamins Working Party

Corresponding author: Dr Ronda Greaves, Department of Complex Biochemistry, The Royal Children’s Hospital, Flemington Rd, Parkville, Victoria 3052, Australia. Email: ronda.greaves{at}

Aim: To survey laboratories enrolled in the Royal College of Pathologistsof Australasia (RCPA) Chemical Pathology Quality Assurance Programme(QAP) for vitamin A and E testing to determine differences betweenmethods of analysis.

Methods: A detailed questionnaire covering the major aspects of serumvitamin A and E analysis was sent to all participating laboratoriesin 2007.

Results: Thirteen out of the 22 laboratories completed the questionnaire.Methods between laboratories showed a great deal of commonality.All respondents performed a liquid extraction step, which includedthe addition of an internal standard, followed by high-performanceliquid chromatography (C18 columns with predominantly methanol-basedmobile phases) with spectrophotometric detection. Major inter-laboratorydifferences were whether the sample was protected from light,the extraction solvents and ratios used, the drying down temperatureused post-liquid extraction and choice of calibrator.

Conclusions: The questionnaire highlighted discrete methodological differencesbetween laboratories. These findings provide direction to enablethe Vitamins Working Party of the Australasian Association ofClinical Biochemists to further investigate the dispersion inresults between participants of the RCPA QAP vitamin programme.

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