Help Desk

Using a Checklist Approach to Troubleshoot Retention Time Issues in (U)HPLC

May 21 2015

Author: Chromatography Today Help Desk on behalf of Chromatography Today Help Desk

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My colleague (an amateur pilot) asked this question recently and I wondered if there were any checklists that I use at work. I can’t say that I use many written lists, but it’s strange isn’t it that pilots place so much reliance on getting these technically difficult operations correct every time. Presumably because of the high level technical content and the fact that people’s lives depend upon it.

Setting up an HPLC analysis is also very technical and people’s lives may depend upon the result. So why aren’t we so diligent with our check lists? I guess our SOP’s are a form of checklist but I rarely see these being used in the same diligent manner as pilots kneeboard checklists. Actually most commercial pilots use iPad’s for their checklists these days and only by selecting a response for each line item do you get to continue to the next item to check. Perhaps this might point the way for possibilities in
our world? 

That aside, I did find that I have a whole bunch of checklists I’ve received over the years from learned colleagues and via publications – and this is as good a forum as any to share a very useful checklist related to Troubleshooting HPLC retention time irreproducibility. 

HPLC Separation Problem Diagnosis 

1. Measure retention time change ratio for all peaks of interest: 

2. Is RTR constant for all peaks? 

3. Does the void marker overlay or is it different? 

4. How does the PAR change? 

5. How does the PHR change? 

I’ve included a table in the PDF which summarises the check list inferences. unloack the article and download the PDF.  I hope that this helps with your HPLC troubleshooting!

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