Quality control of the prothrombin time and international normalized ratios. National and international schemes

David A. Taberner, Leon Poller, Jean M. Thomson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The international normalized ratios (INR) system allows valid comparisons in results and quality of performance to be made between users of different thromboplastin reagents. In the international quality control surveys currently over 80% of the 53 countries participating report INR. Stated local international sensitivity index (ISI) values show fair agreement with values calculated from quality control returns obtained with local and reference reagents. The coefficient of variations (CV) of the INR in these surveys are between 11-22% depending upon INR values. In comparison, CV of the UK national scheme are currently 7-13%. However, analysis of UK results has shown high CV with high ISI reagents. This is due to the ISI effect as CV of INR is CV of prothrombin ratio (PR) multiplied by the ISI. Ideal thromboplastins should show good precision of PR and a low ISI to prevent this apparent deterioration when PR results are transformed into the INR scale. Instrumentation has a further effect on the INR result. Unfortunately, the effect is not uniform even within instrument type and model or even between normal and therapeutic results. Local instrument adjustment or local calibration is therefore necessary. Thus, quality control surveys continue to highlight problems in prothrombin time standardization. © 1990 Springer-Verlag.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)59-69
    Number of pages10
    JournalLa Ricerca in clinica e in laboratorio
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 1990


    • International normalized ratios
    • Prothrombin time
    • Quality control


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