The history of isotope ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS) is briefly described. It is shown that the fundamental design of isotope ratio mass spectrometers has not changed since the 1940s. The basic findings concerning the natural variation of isotope abundances even date back to the 1930s. Recent improvements in the methodology mainly concern online coupling and analytical peripherals. The nature of isotopic scales necessitates a specific terminology which is unfamiliar to many analysts. However, corresponding guidelines exist that should be adopted by the anti-doping community. Currently, steroids represent the only group of compounds routinely analyzed by IRMS in doping-control. Suggestions are made in respect to a harmonized terminology concerning the nature and origins of steroids.
Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.