The purpose of this study was to establish age- and sex-specific pediatric reference intervals of serum potassium (K), sodium (Na), chlorine (Cl), calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), and phosphorus (P) using a direct sampling technique.
In accordance with the a priori approach, healthy individuals (n = 6,466, aged 1 month to <18 years) were enrolled from five regions in Jilin Province, China, and all analytes were performed in the center laboratory. Reference intervals were divided according to the regression tree and Harris and Boyd's method, and then they were calculated by the nonparametric rank method. The dynamic changes of reference intervals were evaluated by the lambda-mu-sigma (LMS) method.
Reference intervals of serum Na and Ca were divided into three age-specific partitions. The concentrations of K, Cl, and Mg remained stable with age. However, only dramatic sex-specific changes of P were shown in those 11 to less than 13 years old and 13 to less than 15 years old, with an earlier peak time in females than in males. The correlation between Na and Cl was the strongest among all serum electrolytes (r = 0.31).
Serum electrolyte reference intervals for children and adolescents were established by regression tree, z test, and the LMS method, which provide a more accurate interpretation for diagnosis and prognosis evaluation of clinical pediatric diseases.

© American Society for Clinical Pathology, 2020.