Reproducibility of synovial fluid analyses. A study among four laboratories

Authors

  • . H. Ralph Schumacher Jr. MD,

    Director, Professor of Medicine, Corresponding author
    1. Arthritis-Immunology Center, Veterans Administration Medical Center, and the Hematology Section, William Pepper Laboratory, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
    • Arthritis-Immunology Center, Veterans Administration Medical Center, University and Woodland Avenues, Philadelphia, PA 19104
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Marie S. Sieck,

    Technician
    1. Arthritis-Immunology Center, Veterans Administration Medical Center, and the Hematology Section, William Pepper Laboratory, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Susan Rothfuss,

    Technician
    1. Arthritis-Immunology Center, Veterans Administration Medical Center, and the Hematology Section, William Pepper Laboratory, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Gilda M. Clayburne,

    Technician
    1. Arthritis-Immunology Center, Veterans Administration Medical Center, and the Hematology Section, William Pepper Laboratory, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Dorothy F. Baumgarten,

    Technician
    1. Arthritis-Immunology Center, Veterans Administration Medical Center, and the Hematology Section, William Pepper Laboratory, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Bonnie S. Mochan PhD,

    Rechnical Manager
    1. Arthritis-Immunology Center, Veterans Administration Medical Center, and the Hematology Section, William Pepper Laboratory, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Jeffrey A. Kant MD, PhD

    Director
    1. Arthritis-Immunology Center, Veterans Administration Medical Center, and the Hematology Section, William Pepper Laboratory, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

Aliquots from 30 synovial fluids were submitted to 4 laboratories for comparison of leukocyte counts and differential cell counts, and to 3 laboratories for a search for and identification of crystals. Leukocyte counts showed only fair correlation (coefficients of 0.76–0.80) with the reference laboratory. In synovial fluid from 4 patients, there was sufficient difference in leukocyte counts to cause the fluids to be erroneously classified as either “inflammatory” or “noninflammatory.” In 12 of 24 fluid specimens examined, percentages of neutrophils fell outside the 95% confidence limits of the value determined by the reference laboratory. In 7 of the 11 patients with crystals reported, discrepancies were found between the reports from 1 or more laboratories. More attention to quality control of synovial fluid analyses is important.

Ancillary