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Evaluation of five clinical chemistry analyzers for use in health assessment in sea turtles

Karen N. Wolf DVM, MS1, Craig A. Harms DVM, PhD, DACZM2, and Jean F. Beasley MA3
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  • 1 Department of Clinical Sciences and Environmental Medicine Consortium, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27606.
  • | 2 Center for Marine Sciences and Technology, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Morehead City, NC 28557.
  • | 3 Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center, 822 Carolina Blvd, Topsail Beach, NC 28445.

Abstract

Objective—To compare blood biochemical values obtained from a handheld analyzer, 2 tabletop analyzers, and 2 diagnostic laboratories by use of replicate samples of sea turtle blood.

Design—Validation study.

Animals—22 captive juvenile sea turtles.

Procedures—Sea turtles (18 loggerhead turtles [Caretta caretta], 3 green turtles [Chelonia mydas], and 1 Kemp's ridley turtle [Lepidochelys kempii]) were manually restrained, and a single blood sample was obtained from each turtle and divided for analysis by use of the 5 analyzers. Hematocrit and concentrations or activities of aspartate aminotransferase, creatine kinase, glucose, total protein, albumin, BUN, uric acid, P, Ca, K, Na, Cl, lactate dehydrogenase, and alkaline phosphatase were determined. Median values for each analyte were compared among the analyzers.

Results—Significant differences were found among the analyzers for most values; however, data obtained from the 2 diagnostic laboratories were similar for all analytes. The magnitude of difference between the diagnostic laboratories and in-house units was ≥ 10% for 10 of the 15 analytes.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Variance in the results could be attributed in part to differences in analyzer methodology. It is important to identify the specific methodology used when reporting and interpreting biochemical data. Depending on the variable and specific case, this magnitude of difference could conceivably influence patient management.

Abstract

Objective—To compare blood biochemical values obtained from a handheld analyzer, 2 tabletop analyzers, and 2 diagnostic laboratories by use of replicate samples of sea turtle blood.

Design—Validation study.

Animals—22 captive juvenile sea turtles.

Procedures—Sea turtles (18 loggerhead turtles [Caretta caretta], 3 green turtles [Chelonia mydas], and 1 Kemp's ridley turtle [Lepidochelys kempii]) were manually restrained, and a single blood sample was obtained from each turtle and divided for analysis by use of the 5 analyzers. Hematocrit and concentrations or activities of aspartate aminotransferase, creatine kinase, glucose, total protein, albumin, BUN, uric acid, P, Ca, K, Na, Cl, lactate dehydrogenase, and alkaline phosphatase were determined. Median values for each analyte were compared among the analyzers.

Results—Significant differences were found among the analyzers for most values; however, data obtained from the 2 diagnostic laboratories were similar for all analytes. The magnitude of difference between the diagnostic laboratories and in-house units was ≥ 10% for 10 of the 15 analytes.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Variance in the results could be attributed in part to differences in analyzer methodology. It is important to identify the specific methodology used when reporting and interpreting biochemical data. Depending on the variable and specific case, this magnitude of difference could conceivably influence patient management.

Contributor Notes

Supported by the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center and the State of North Carolina.

The authors thank Drs. Dan Dombrowski, David Goetz, Aaron Hall, Laurie Parish, Lillian Royal, and Shannon Smith for technical assistance and Dr. Heather Henson-Ramsey for statistical assistance.

Address correspondence to Dr. Harms.