MSACL 2018 US Abstract

Topic: Practical Training

Zen and the Art of LC-MS/MS Maintenance: Assuring Optimal Instrument Performance

Joshua Akin (Presenter)
UC San Diego Health

Bio: Josh Akin is a Clinical Laboratory Scientist Specialist in the Clinical Mass Spectrometry Laboratory, Center for Advanced Laboratory Medicine at UC, San Diego Health. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology at California State University, Chico and completed his Master's Degree in Clinical Research at the University of California, San Diego. His research interests include clinical mass spectrometry, ICP-MS analysis, and clinical study design.

Authorship: Joshua Akin
UC San Diego Health

Short Abstract

LC-MS/MS instruments are continually becoming faster, more accurate and easier to use. With this demand for performance comes a need to assure quality results in a dependable manner. Reliability and reproducibility can be greatly improved with a small amount of consistent, preventative maintenance. We will discuss several steps to assure reliable results by minimizing system contamination and degradation. These steps will also be contrasted with examples of poor instrument performance, and how to prevent it. In addition, we will provide a framework for daily, weekly, monthly and annual maintenance.

Long Abstract


The goal of every clinical laboratory is to produce accurate, precise and cost-effective results in a timely manner. This is the cornerstone of providing laboratory results that are critical to patient care. It is essential through this, to understand the fundamental operation of laboratory instrumentation and recognize its inherent limitations. The process of instrument verification and maintenance can be daunting, and LC-MS/MS is no exception. The goal of a good maintenance protocol for LC-MS/MS analysis promotes optimal performance of the instrument while simultaneously reducing unscheduled down-time. Data collected during maintenance procedures can also be used to assess instrument performance, and track changes to observe trends to further predict maintenance interventions.


The focus of this presentation is to demonstrate the importance of a regular LC-MS/MS maintenance procedure and demonstrate, by example, how results, time and money can be comprised when a good maintenance procedure is not implemented. We will discuss common issues pertaining to LC and MS systems and describe scenarios in which proper maintenance can resolve such issues. Lastly, we will describe a protocol for instrument maintenance that addresses common preventable issues and assures optimal performance.


Topics to be covered include:

• How a daily/weekly/monthly/annual maintenance checklist will

save you time, money and the unneeded stress of instrument


• Feedback from the instrument, and what it can tell you.

• Why monitoring system performance over time is so important.

• When calibration and resolution should be performed.

• Why system backups and security updates should be a regular part of maintenance.

Conclusions & Discussion

By the end of the session, participants should be able to:

1. Describe the importance of implementing a routine maintenance procedure for LC-MS/MS instrumentation.

2. Identify situations when instrument performance is diminishing using maintenance log tracked data.

3. Create and implement a personalized instrument maintenance procedure to assure reproducible and reliable performance.

References & Acknowledgements:

Special thanks to the UC San Diego Health Toxicology Laboratory at the Center for Advanced Laboratory Medicine (CALM).

Financial Disclosure

Board MemberyesAACC San Diego Local Section

IP Royalty: no

Planning to mention or discuss specific products or technology of the company(ies) listed above: