ASVCP guidelines: allowable total error guidelines for biochemistry


  • Position Statements and Special Reports developed by the American Society for Veterinary Clinical Pathology (ASVCP) provide current information on topics in veterinary clinical pathology that are important to the veterinary community. The procedure for submitting statements is detailed at The ASVCP Executive Board is responsible for the review and approval of all statements, often following a period of input from the ASVCP membership and experts in the field. The final draft is then submitted to Veterinary Clinical Pathology and is edited prior to publication.


As all laboratory equipment ages and contains components that may degrade with time, initial and periodically scheduled performance assessment is required to verify accurate and precise results over the life of the instrument. As veterinary patients may present to general practitioners and then to referral hospitals (both of which may each perform in-clinic laboratory analyses using different instruments), and given that general practitioners may send samples to reference laboratories, there is a need for comparability of results across instruments and methods. Allowable total error (TEa) is a simple comparative quality concept used to define acceptable analytical performance. These guidelines are recommendations for determination and interpretation of TEa for commonly measured biochemical analytes in cats, dogs, and horses for equipment commonly used in veterinary diagnostic medicine. TEa values recommended herein are aimed at all veterinary settings, both private in-clinic laboratories using point-of-care analyzers and larger reference laboratories using more complex equipment. They represent the largest TEa possible without generating laboratory variation that would impact clinical decision making. TEa can be used for (1) assessment of an individual instrument's analytical performance, which is of benefit if one uses this information during instrument selection or assessment of in-clinic instrument performance, (2) Quality Control validation, and (3) as a measure of agreement or comparability of results from different laboratories (eg, between the in-clinic analyzer and the reference laboratory). These guidelines define a straightforward approach to assessment of instrument analytical performance.