Nielsen, Marie Katrine Klose2; Johansen, Sys Stybe2; Linnet, Kristian2
1 Section of Forensic Chemistry, Department of Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, Københavns Universitet2 Section of Forensic Chemistry, Department of Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, Københavns Universitet
Assessment of total uncertainty of analytical methods for the measurements of drugs in human hair has mainly been derived from the analytical variation. However, in hair analysis several other sources of uncertainty will contribute to the total uncertainty. Particularly, in segmental hair analysis pre-analytical variations associated with the sampling and segmentation may be significant factors in the assessment of the total uncertainty budget. The aim of this study was to develop and validate a method for the analysis of 31 common drugs in hair using ultra-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (UHPLC-MS/MS) with focus on the assessment of both the analytical and pre-analytical sampling variations. The validated method was specific, accurate (80-120%), and precise (CV≤20%) across a wide linear concentration range from 0.025-25ng/mg for most compounds. The analytical variation was estimated to be less than 15% for almost all compounds. The method was successfully applied to 25 segmented hair specimens from deceased drug addicts showing a broad pattern of poly-drug use. The pre-analytical sampling variation was estimated from the genuine duplicate measurements of two bundles of hair collected from each subject after subtraction of the analytical component. For the most frequently detected analytes, the pre-analytical variation was estimated to be 26-69%. Thus, the pre-analytical variation was 3-7 folds larger than the analytical variation (7-13%) and hence the dominant component in the total variation (29-70%). The present study demonstrated the importance of including the pre-analytical variation in the assessment of the total uncertainty budget and in the setting of the 95%-uncertainty interval (±2CVT). Excluding the pre-analytical sampling variation could significantly affect the interpretation of results from segmental hair analysis.
Forensic Science International, 2014, Vol 234, p. 16-21