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To minimize toxicity of high-dose methotrexate (MTX) therapy, urinary alkalinization with frequent monitoring of urine pH is required. Urine pH is usually assessed by fast and convenient dipstick methods. When urine color interferes with dipstick measurement, as occurs in patients receiving MTX, alternative methods such as pH meters are used. Nursing staff caring for patients on high-dose MTX reported that urine pH results from dipstick and pH analyzers were often clinically discordant. As a result urine pH by dipstick and pH meter were compared in patients on high-dose MTX therapy and patients with normal-colored urine samples. We measured urine pH by dipstick and pH meter in 116 urine samples from 4 patients receiving high-dose MTX therapy, and in 50 normal-colored urine samples from 50 patients not on MTX therapy. In patients on MTX therapy the mean (±standard deviation) bias between dipstick and pH meter urine pH was 0.7±0.4, compared to 0.4±0.3 in patients not on MTX. For patients on MTX clinical concordance between dipstick and pH meter urine results was poor around a clinical cut-off of pH 8.0. Of the 92 samples with a meter urine pH≤8.0, 72 had a discordant value by dipstick (pH>8). Urine pH readings by dipstick and pH meter are not equivalent, and the bias between them is exacerbated in patients on MTX. Institutions with high-dose MTX therapy protocols should not alternate between dipstick and pH meter urine pH monitoring. Copyright © 2012 The Canadian Society of Clinical Chemists. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Amy M Wockenfus, Christopher D Koch, Patricia M Conlon, Linda D Sorensen, Kari L Cambern, Amy J Chihak, Julie A Zmolek, Amy E Petersen, Bradley E Burns, John C Lieske, Brad S Karon. Discordance between urine pH measured by dipstick and pH meter: implications for methotrexate administration protocols. Clinical biochemistry. 2013 Jan;46(1-2):152-4

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PMID: 23103706

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