[Skip to Navigation]
September 25, 1995

Accuracy of Laboratory and Portable Monitor International Normalized Ratio Determinations: Comparison With a Criterion Standard

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Internal Medicine (Dr Kaatz) and Division of Biostatistics (Mr Mascha), Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit, Mich; Department of Medicine, University of California, Davis, Sacramento (Dr White); Boehringer Mannheim Corp, Indianapolis, Ind (Mr Hill); and Department of Medicine, University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville (Drs Humphries and Becker).

Arch Intern Med. 1995;155(17):1861-1867. doi:10.1001/archinte.1995.00430170053006

Background:  Portable instruments that measure the prothrombin time and automatically calculate the international normalized ratio (INR) with the use of a drop of whole blood have simplified the treatment of patients who are receiving warfarin therapy. The accuracy of these portable monitors has never been determined by comparing INR results with a criterion (gold) standard INR determination.

Methods:  Duplicate whole-blood INR determinations were made with two commercially available portable INR monitors. Duplicate frozen-plasma samples were measured with four different thromboplastin reagents, each with a different international sensitivity index. The criterion standard INR was determined by using an international reference thromboplastin and the manual tilt-tube technique. Agreement was evaluated by determining how accurately laboratory and monitor INR determinations matched criterion standard values in designating a sample to be within or outside of currently recommended INR target ranges.

Results:  Two of the laboratory methods, which used relatively sensitive thromboplastins, showed close agreement with the criterion standard, whereas two laboratory methods that used less sensitive thromboplastin reagents showed poor agreement. Both of the portable monitors fell between these extremes. The two best laboratory methods were significantly better (P<.003) than both monitors, which in turn were better (P<.003) than the remaining two laboratories.

Conclusions:  There is large interlaboratory variation in the accuracy of INR determinations. Laboratory methods that used insensitive (high international sensitivity index) thromboplastins performed poorly. Accuracy of monitor measurements appears satisfactory.(Arch Intern Med. 1995;155:1861-1867)