Biological variation and analytical goals of four thyroid function biomarkers in healthy European volunteers.

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Interpretation of thyroid function tests by means of biological variation (BV) data is essential to identify significant changes between serial measurements at an individual level. Data on thyroid parameters in adults are limited.We aimed at determining the BV of four thyroid function test (thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), free thyroxin (FT4), free triiodothyronine (FT3) and thyroglobulin (Tg)) by applying recent recommendations to acquire BV data on a latest generation of immunoassay.Nineteen healthy volunteers (8 males and 11 females) were drawn every week during 5 consecutive weeks. Samples were analyzed in duplicate on the Cobas 602 analyzer (Roche Diagnostics). After normality assessment, outlier exclusion, and homogeneity of variance analysis, analytical variation (CVA ), within-subject biological variation (CVI ) and between-subject biological variation (CVG ) were determined using nested ANOVA.CVA , CVI and CVG were 0.9%, 19.7% and 37.6% for TSH; 3.6%, 4.6% and 10.8% for FT4; 2.2%, 6.0% and 8.6% for FT3; and 0.9%, 15.4% and 84.9% for Tg. Index of individuality (II) for all parameters was between 0.2 and 0.7. The percentage above which the change between two measures is truly significant (reference change value) was 54.7% for TSH, 16.2% for FT4, 17.7% for FT3 and 42.8% for Tg.Based on recent international recommendations, our study provides updated BV data for four thyroid function tests in European healthy volunteers. Reliable BV characteristics, and especially RCV, can facilitate the interpretation of consecutive thyroid function tests in an individual and therefore have the potential to efficiently support clinical decisions regarding thyroid diseases.

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