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Na (sodium) result variance

04 Jul 2021

Read the memo from laboratory services and chemistry

By: Daryl Vogel, MD, medical director of laboratory services; Karl Kamper, director of laboratory services; and Amanda Jacobson, senior specialist, chemistry


To:          Medical Staff

From:    Daryl Vogel, MD; Medical Director, Laboratory Services
Karl Kamper; Director, Laboratory Services
Amanda Jacobson; Senior Specialist- Chemistry

Date:  June 28, 2021

Re:         Na (Sodium) Results

As part of routine quality monitoring, the laboratory has identified a variance affecting Na (Sodium) results for patients who had testing completed at the Salem Hospital Priority Lab, between June 27, 2021, at 05:00 and June 28, 2021, at 02:00. 

The laboratory retested a representative sample of patient specimens from the affected time period.  Comparison of original results with those retested showed that the retested samples had an upward shift of between 5 - 7 mmol/L.  The majority of the representative samples were reported out low, but still repeated within the normal range.  For example, a value of 134 mmol/L might repeat as 139 mmol/L.  In some cases, this may demonstrate a clinically significant change.  Upon consultation with the laboratory medical director, corrected results will not be issued. 

The variance occurred at the Salem Health Priority Lab, which serves primarily inpatients.  Most outpatients, even if their specimen collection was performed on the Salem Hospital Campus, are tested at the Salem Health Regional Lab, and are therefore not affected.

Salem Health Laboratories is committed to providing quality results for your patients.

Because Sodium is the major extracellular cation and functions to maintain fluid distribution and osmotic pressure, repeat testing of Electrolytes (Sodium, Potassium, and Chloride) is available if you feel one of your patients was affected by this issue.  Repeat testing must be completed on a newly collected sample, and will be performed, once, at no cost to the patient.  If you have a patient that you would like to be retested, please contact Client Services at 503-814-LABS (5227).  A client service representative will facilitate the retesting of patients.  Please do not order repeat testing in EPIC or through any other electronic or manual requisition process.  No charge testing can only be accessed by calling client services directly.  This opportunity will be available until July 31st 2021.

If you have additional questions, please contact Daryl Vogel, MD at 503-814-3350, Karl Kamper at 503-814-3128, or Amanda Jacobson at 503-814-1632