J S Afr Vet Assoc. 2022 Nov 8. doi: 10.36303/JSAVA.516. Online ahead of print.
Refractometric total proteins are commonly used in practice as a quick and inexpensive way to measure total protein concentration in bodily fluids. Little information is available about how the operator performing the measurement affects the results. The aim of our study was to determine the inter- and intra-operator variability of refractometric total proteins measured on canine plasma using a temperature-compensated handheld refractometer. A pooled sample of canine lithium-heparin plasma was created using leftover samples from dogs presented to our hospital. The sample was then divided into three aliquots. Total proteins of these aliquots were measured by veterinary nurses, interns, residents and specialists working at our hospital. Statistical analysis revealed excellent inter-operator (ICC 0.99, CI 95%: 0.971-1.00) and intra-operator (ICC 0.997, CI 95%: 0.990- 0.999) variability. Having different operators measuring refractometric total plasma proteins in practice should not affect the results. This suggests different operators can be used when monitoring total plasma proteins of a patient over time and when designing a study that involves this test.