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09-05-2018 | Blood glucose monitoring | Article

Impact of Glucose Measuring Systems and Sample Type on Diagnosis Rates of Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetes Therapy

Authors: Markus Gabriel Blaurock, Anders Kallner, Stefan Menzel, Annette Masuch, Matthias Nauck, Astrid Petersmann

Publisher: Springer Healthcare



The use of glucose point-of-care testing (POCT) devices for the diagnosis of diabetes mellitus (DM) is an ongoing controversy. In patient management, glucose concentrations are determined by POCT and core laboratory glucose methods, and the values are commonly compared even though the samples collected are different, namely, capillary whole blood and venous plasma. In individual patients it is difficult to distinguish between factors that can influence the results, such as sample type and measuring procedure. In this study, glucose concentrations obtained using POCT and core laboratory instruments were assessed to duplicate typical scenarios experienced in healthcare. Corresponding diagnosis rates of impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) and DM based on fixed, method-independent cutoffs were compared.


Glucose concentration was measured by the 2-h oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) in samples collected from an inpatient cohort and a cohort from the general population. Two POCT methods, namely, a handheld unit-use glucometer and a small bench-top analyzer with batch reagents, and two core laboratory procedures were used to measure glucose concentrations. The sample types were whole blood and plasma samples collected from venous and capillary blood. The glycated hemoglobin level in whole blood was also determined.


A total of 231 subjects were included in the study. The 2-h OGTT glucose concentrations in the capillary whole blood samples showed a positive bias of 0.8 mmol/L compared to those obtained using core laboratory plasma glucose methods, leading to increased rates of diabetes diagnosis. This bias decreased to 0.2 mmol/L when venous blood was used in the tests. A change in the method used by the core laboratory introduced a negative bias of 0.5 mmol/L and, consequently, a lower diagnosis rates.

Discussion and Conclusion

Venous blood samples measured at the point-of-care are the most suitable sample type for the measurement of the glucose concentration in the 2-h OGTT. The investigated unit-use POCT method is suitable for the diagnosis of IGT and DM when venous blood samples are collected. Importantly, changes in measurement procedures can introduce a bias and affect diagnosis rates, thereby emphasizing the need for further harmonization of glucose methods.

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