Ann Lab Med.  2019 Sep;39(5):447-453. 10.3343/alm.2019.39.5.447.

Use of Liquid Chromatography-Tandem Mass Spectrometry for Clinical Testing in Korean Laboratories: a Questionnaire Survey

  • 1Department of Laboratory Medicine, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea.
  • 2LabGenomics Clinical Laboratories, Seongnam, Korea.
  • 3Department of Laboratory Medicine and Genetics, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 4Department of Laboratory Medicine, University of Ulsan College of Medicine and Asan Medical Center, Seoul, Korea.
  • 5Department of Laboratory Medicine and Genetics, Soonchunhyang University Bucheon Hospital, Soonchunhyang University College of Medicine, Bucheon, Korea.
  • 6Department of Laboratory Medicine, Konkuk University Medical Center, Konkuk University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 7Department of Laboratory Medicine, Seoul National University Hospital and College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 8Department of Laboratory Medicine, Severance Hospital, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 9Department of Laboratory Medicine, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital and College of Medicine, Seongnam, Korea.


The use of liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) has substantially increased in clinical laboratories worldwide. To assess the status of clinical LC-MS/MS testing in Korean laboratories, a questionnaire survey was performed by the Clinical Mass Spectrometry Research Committee of the Korean Society of Clinical Chemistry.
The questionnaire was distributed to 19 clinical laboratories performing clinical LC-MS/MS from April to May 2018. It asked about general characteristics of the laboratory and commonly utilized clinical LC-MS/MS tests: newborn screening, tacrolimus test, vitamin D test, and plasma metanephrine test. Frequency analysis and other statistical analyses were performed.
A total of 17 laboratories responded. The median number of LC-MS/MS instruments, laboratory medicine physicians, and technicians in each laboratory was three, one, and two, respectively. Nine laboratory directors had >10 years of experience with clinical LC-MS/MS. For each LC-MS/MS test, at least two concentrations of QC materials were measured every 24 hours during clinical testing, and all laboratories used QC acceptability criteria based on their established QC means and SDs. All laboratories participated in an external quality assessment program. However, there was inter-laboratory variability in sample preparation methods, instruments, reagents, internal standards, and calibrators.
LC-MS/MS has been successfully introduced in Korean clinical laboratories and is used within a quality framework. Further efforts for harmonization on a nationwide basis could facilitate the widespread use of LC-MS/MS.


Liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry; Korea; Survey; Harmonization

MeSH Terms

Chemistry, Clinical
Indicators and Reagents
Infant, Newborn
Mass Screening
Mass Spectrometry*
Vitamin D
Indicators and Reagents
Vitamin D
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