What is a Calibrator?

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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Calibration of Clinical Laboratory Analytes. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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What is a Calibrator?

Calibrations require a reference sample or samples to be tested at specific intervals or under specific circumstances. This type of sample is called a calibrator. Calibrators are usually purchased materials that have a precisely-defined quantity of analyte. Calibrators can either be matrix matched or not, depending on the analyte and manufacturer. Matrix matching is defined as creating calibrators in the same type of body fluid as the intended patient sample body fluid source (i.e., calibrators created in urine for testing an analyte in patient urine).
  • "Non-zero" calibrators refer to calibrators with a quantifiable amount of the analyte in question.
  • "Zero" calibrators have no quantifiable amount of analyte and are equivalent to a blank.