To reduce the risk of inadvertent disclosure, all data from this 1-year urine collection can only be accessed through the NCHS Research Data Center (RDC). Instructions for requesting use of these data are available at the RDC website.
As part of their physical examination, NHANES participants aged 6 and over were asked to provide a full void of urine in the mobile examination center (MEC). The urine specimen collected in the MEC were used to perform various laboratory tests and to aliquot and bank for future studies. In 2014, a random half sample of non-pregnant participants aged 20-69 years examined in the MEC were asked to collect their urines for a 24-hour period. For those who completed the 24-hour urine collection, we also analyzed urine electrolytes (sodium, potassium, and chloride) and creatinine in their stored urine samples from the MEC. The MEC urine sample was measured to examine the utility of spot urine specimens in estimating 24-hour electrolyte excretions at the population level.
Urine electrolytes sodium, potassium and chloride are principally used as nutritional indicators in healthy persons. They are infrequently measured in clinical settings, however. Measured electrolyte values are not diagnostic of any disease, but can be used in special situations to help support the diagnosis of several rare clinical conditions. The more important use of urinary electrolyte data is for public health studies. Urine sodium data is an important biomarker of dietary sodium intake.
To reduce the risk of inadvertent disclosure,
all data from this 1-year urine collection can only be accessed through the
NCHS Research Data Center (RDC). Instructions for requesting use of these data
are available at the RDC website.
A random one-half sample of all examined participants aged 20-69 years, except a few eliminated based on exclusion criteria such as pregnancy, were asked to collect a 24-hour urine specimen. Those who completed the 24-hour urine collection were eligible for the MEC urine electrolyte analyses.
Description of Laboratory Methodology
An Ion-Selective Electrode (lSE) makes use of the unique properties of certain membrane materials to develop an electrical potential (electromotive force, EMF) for the measurements of ions in solution. The complete measurement system for a particular ion includes the lSE, a reference electrode, and electronic circuits to measure and process the EMF to give the test ion concentration. The type of ISE used on the Hitachi ISE Module(s) is classified as liquid/liquid junction type. The sodium and potassium electrodes are based on neutral carriers and the chloride electrode is based on an ion exchanger. For determinations on the ISE Module(s), the sample is diluted 1:31 and a single L5 µL sample is taken for the three assays.
Refer to the Laboratory Method Files section for detailed laboratory procedure manual(s) of the methods used.
Laboratory Method Files
Laboratory Quality Assurance and Monitoring
Urine specimens were processed, stored, and shipped to Division of Laboratory Sciences, National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA for analysis.
Detailed instructions on specimen collection and processing are discussed in the NHANES Laboratory Procedures Manual (LPM). Vials are stored under appropriate frozen (-30°C) conditions until they are shipped to National Center for Environmental Health, for testing.
The NHANES quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC) protocols meet the 1988 Clinical Laboratory Improvement Act mandates. Detailed QA/QC instructions are discussed in the NHANES Laboratory Procedures Manual (LPM).
Mobile Examination Centers (MECs)
Laboratory team performance is monitored using several techniques. NCHS and contract consultants use a structured quality assurance evaluation during unscheduled visits to evaluate both the quality of the laboratory work and the quality-control procedures. Each laboratory staff member is observed for equipment operation, specimen collection and preparation; testing procedures and constructive feedback are given to each staff member. Formal retraining sessions are conducted annually to ensure that required skill levels were maintained.
NHANES uses several methods to monitor the quality of the analyses performed by the contract laboratories. In the MEC, these methods include performing blind split samples collected on “dry run” sessions. In addition, contract laboratories randomly perform repeat testing on 2% of all specimens.
NCHS developed and distributed a quality control protocol for all the contract laboratories which outlined the use of Westgard rules (Westgard et al., 1981) when running NHANES specimens. Progress reports containing any problems encountered during shipping or receipt of specimens, summary statistics for each control pool, QC graphs, instrument calibration, reagents, and any special considerations are submitted to NCHS quarterly. The reports are reviewed for trends or shifts in the data. The laboratories are required to explain any identified areas of concern.
All QC procedures recommended by the manufacturers were followed. Reported results for all assays meet the CDC/NCEH Nutritional Biomarkers Branch quality control and quality assurance performance criteria for accuracy and precision, similar to the Westgard rules (Caudill et al., 2008).
Data Processing and Editing
Laboratory electrolyte data were analyzed and reported in mmol/L. The data were converted from mmol/L to mg/dL using the following formulas:
SSUNA = SSUNASI * 2.3
SSUK = SSUKSI * 3.9
SSUCL = SSUCLSI * 3.55
The data were reviewed. Incomplete data or improbable values were sent to the performing laboratory for confirmation.
Refer to the 2013 - 2014 Laboratory Data Overview for general
information on NHANES laboratory data.
Sodium, potassium, and chloride were measured in a random one-half subsample of participants, aged 20 to 69 years, who were compliant in a 24-hour urine sample collection. Special sample weights are required to analyze these data properly. Specific sample weights for this subsample are included in this data file and should be used when analyzing these data.
Demographic and Other Related Variables
The analysis of NHANES laboratory data must be conducted using the appropriate survey design and demographic variables. The NHANES 2013-2014 Demographics File contains demographic data, health indicators, and other related information collected during household interviews.
This laboratory data file can be linked to the other NHANES data files using the unique survey participant identifier (i.e., SEQN).
The detection limits were constant for all of the analytes in the data set. Two variables are provided for each of these analytes. The variable name ending in “1LC” (ex., SSUNA1LC) indicates whether the result was below the limit of detection: the value “0” means that the result was at or above the limit of detection, “1” indicates that the result was below the limit of detection. For analytes with analytic results below the lower limit of detection (ex., SSUNA1LC=1), an imputed fill value was placed in the analyte results field. This value is the lower limit of detection divided by the square root of 2 (LLOD/sqrt). The other variable prefixed UR1 (ex., SSUNASI) provides the analytic result for that analyte.
The lower limit of detection (LLOD) for Electrolytes – MEC Urine Collection:
|| Sodium, Urine MEC Collection (mmol/L)
|| Potassium, Urine MEC Collection (mmol/L)
|| Chloride, Urine MEC Collection (mmol/L)
Please refer to the NHANES Analytic Guidelines and the on-line NHANES Tutorial for further details on the use of sample weights and other analytic issues.