Background Critical clinical decisions are made on the basis of the glomerular filtration rate (GFR) measured using technetium-99m-diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid (DTPA) administration, followed by multiple time-point plasma sampling. As GFR studies rely on few data points and produce a single result, they are prone to technical errors that may remain inconspicuous. Objective We describe a data analysis worksheet that provides real-time quality control (QC) indicators and evaluate our initial clinical experience. Methods Two hundred and forty-six consecutive GFR studies carried out at our clinics were included. Our protocol used plasma samples at 2, 3, and 4 h after injection of technetium-99m-DTPA. Duplicate plasma samples, background samples, and aliquots of an activity dilution standard were counted. Times were logged for injection and dilution standard preparation, blood sampling, and counting. Data were entered into a custom GFR analysis spreadsheet that flagged QC in real time at warning and error levels, including QC of the expected ratio between dilution standard counts-activity ratio (CARs) measurements, which was newly introduced to our clinic. The prevalence of QC events was analyzed in three phases: baseline, training, and evaluation (n=31, 69, and 146, respectively). Results From the baseline and training phases (n=100), CAR reference values were determined for each of two sites. In the absence of the CAR QC indicator, errors were present in 5/31 (16%) examinations, but with QC indication decreased to 7/146 (5%) (P<0.05), suggesting that the real-time QC information guided the technologists to ensure proper standard preparation and sample handling, as intended. Improvements in other QC measures were also noted, resulting in an overall error rate reduction from 23 to 8%. Conclusion Real-time analysis of redundant information as a component of the GFR worksheet ensures quality results, but training of technologists and interpreting physicians is essential for optimal utilization of these QC indicators.
- glomerular filtration rate
- quality assurance
- renal function
- technetium-99m-diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging