The importance of locally derived reference ranges and standardized calculation of dilute Russell's viper venom time results in screening for lupus anticoagulant

C Gardiner, I J Mackie, R G Malia, D W Jones, M Winter, D Leeming, D A Taberner, S J Machin, M Greaves

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Three commercial dilute Russell's viper venom time (DRVVT) kits were evaluated at four UK centres experienced at performing lupus anticoagulant (LA) tests. Each centre established a normal reference range for the DRVVT ratio calculated against local pooled normal plasma from 20 healthy normal subjects, Plasma from LA-positive patients and LA-negative thrombophilia patients was also tested. DRVVT ratios and the degree of correction were assessed in a variety of ways to reflect not only the UK national Guidelines, but also the manufacturers' recommendations. The reference range data showed a normal distribution in each case, but considerable variation in the mean and SD between the centres and reagents, with the mean +2SD value ranging from 1.06 to 1.19. The use of an arbitrary DRVVT ratio of <1.1 as the cut-off value for normality, which is applied in many laboratories, is therefore inappropriate. Although no single kit had a clear overall advantage in terms of sensitivity and specificity, the way in which the screen and confirmation data were analysed had a major impact on the interpretation of the results. A data analysis method employing a mean plus two standard deviations (SDs) cut-off for normality, and judgement regarding confirmation of LA based on a percentage correction of DRVVT ratio, was the simplest and most consistent, with overall sensitivity and specificity values of 81% and 94%, respectively, for uncomplicated LA-positive and LA-negative thrombophilia samples. We conclude that the 1991 BSCH Guidelines are in need of revision, each laboratory should establish its own normal reference range for the DRVVT ratio and a common method should be used for calculating the degree of correction with confirmation reagents, so that LA results can be correctly interpreted between laboratories. Standardizing DRVVT interpretation in this way should improve the consistency of LA detection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1230-1235
Number of pages6
JournalBritish Journal of Haematology
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • lupus anticoagulant
  • dilute Russell's viper venom time
  • calculation methods

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