Reference Intervals and Decision Limits

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The diagnostic workup of veterinary patients is a decision-making process. For the decision-making processes to be consistent, established decision criteria are essential. These criteria may be in the form of decision limits or population-based and subject-based reference intervals (RIs). One solution to the frequent problem of small reference sample sizes is to harvest results from laboratory databases, a procedure called data mining. The suitability of a particular population for RI generation assumes homogeneity in that population. Unlike RIs that are descriptive of the distribution of blood values in healthy subjects, a decision limit is a predetermined test threshold that distinguishes between two subgroups of a target population. Reference intervals typically are printed on laboratory reports along with patient results. This only should be done when the provided RIs are applicable to the patient demographic.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSchalm's Veterinary Hematology
EditorsMarjory B. Brooks, Kendal E. Harr, Davis M. Seelig, K. Jane Wardrop, Douglas J. Weiss
Publication date2022
ISBN (Print)9781119500506
ISBN (Electronic)9781119500537
Publication statusPublished - 2022

ID: 313477602