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Use of a hospital database for the evaluation of clinical biochemistry results

Little, C. and Gettinby, G. and Irvine, D. and Eckersall, P.D. and Murray, M. (1994) Use of a hospital database for the evaluation of clinical biochemistry results. Journal of Small Animal Practice, 35 (4). pp. 205-210. ISSN 0022-4510

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A database of the clinical chemistry results from unwell animals referred to Glasgow University Veterinary School, by general practitioners, was studied. This database contains over 60,000 records, from more than 25,000 animals, obtained over a period of 18 years. A four-year period was selected during which the instruments and methods used for these analyses were unchanged. The biochemical analyses made on plasma from those dogs when first presented to the veterinary school were scrutinised in detail. These data have been summarised in a tabular form using the first, fifth, 10th, 25th, 50th, 75th, 90th, 95th and 99th percentiles. The distributions of these values differ for different analytes and in particular do not conform to a normal curve. These data can be used to provide estimates of rarity to indicate the frequency with which extreme values associated with disease can be expected. Thus an individual datum can be flagged as high*, high**, high***, or high**** depending on whether it lies in the top 25 per cent, top 10 per cent, top 5 per cent or top 1 per cent, respectively, of cases in the hospital database. Low values can be flagged in the same way. This approach can complement the use of reference ranges from healthy animals to aid the interpretation of clinical biochemistry results from a new patient.