Generation and application of data on biological variation in clinical chemistry

Crit Rev Clin Lab Sci. 1989;27(5):409-37. doi: 10.3109/10408368909106595.


Most clinical chemical analytes vary in a random manner around a homeostatic set point. Replicate analyses of a series of specimens collected from a group of subjects allows estimation of analytical, within and between subject components of variation. The preferred experimental procedures and statistical methods for evaluation of data and analysis of variance are described; a detailed example is provided in the Appendix. The many uses of data on biological variation in clinical chemistry are reviewed, including setting analytical goals, deciding the significance of changes in serial results from an individual, evaluating the utility of conventional population-based reference values in patient management, and other applications.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Chemistry, Clinical / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Reference Values