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Diabetes Issues Author: AACC Last Updated: Sep 7, 2017 - 10:11:17 PM

How Accurate Are Handheld Glucose Meters?

Jul 17, 2009 - 5:24:38 PM

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( - Chicago, IL, - For nearly three decades, individuals with diabetes have relied on glucose meters to evaluate their glucose status and determine appropriate insulin doses, exercise regimen, and dietary changes. These home-use devices have served an important function in diabetes care, helping patients avoid the devastating complications of poorly controlled diabetes, including neuropathy, retinopathy and kidney damage. In addition, professional versions of these handheld meters are an integral tool used in clinical settings for determining patients’ glucose levels.

But are the current performance specifications optimizing patient care? Dr. David Bruns, Professor of Pathology at the University of Virginia, will tackle this question in an afternoon presentation titled “How Accurate Are Glucose Meters? How Accurate Do They Need to Be?”on Wednesday, July 22. Dr. Bruns’ lecture will be offered during AACC’s 2009 Annual Meeting, which is being held at the McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago, IL.

The medical literature suggests that frequent monitoring with a home-use glucose meter is an important component in achieving “tight” control of diabetes. In the hospital setting, even more accurate devices are necessary to ensure that critically hypo- and hyperglycemic patients are afforded proper treatment and insulin dosage.

According to studies performed by Bruns and his colleague Dr James Boyd, devices that meet the performance specifications established by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) could lead to dosing errors in 8%–23% of insulin doses, while devices that hew to CLIA ’88 standards are susceptible to errors in 16%–45% of dosing events. Dr. Bruns notes that well-designed outcomes studies are needed to determine if dosing errors pose a serious threat to the health of patients with diabetes, and whether current technical specifications sufficiently match clinical need.

“Outcomes studies would provide a sound basis for making these conclusions,” he explained. “When using a glucose meter that meets FDA and ISO standards, measurement errors will lead to frequent selection of insulin doses that are incorrect for the patient’s true blood glucose level. We need to know the effect of those errors on patient safety and health.”

Members of the press are invited to join Dr. Bruns and a host of diabetes experts on July 22, 2:30-5:00 pm for a wide-ranging discussion of this topic and other important issues related to diabetes in the session entitled “Laboratory Medicine Practice Guidelines for Laboratory Analysis of Diabetes” (Session 34202). For instructions on receiving a complimentary press registration, contact Sue Parham in the AACC Press Office located in Room N427B/C of the McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago, IL (see additional contact info at top of page).

AACC, based in Washington, DC, is a leading professional society dedicated to improving healthcare through laboratory medicine. Its over 9,000 members are clinical laboratory professionals, physicians, research scientists, and others involved in developing tests and directing laboratory operations. AACC brings this community together with programs that advance knowledge, expertise, and innovation. AACC’s Annual Meeting, which attracts around 20,000 delegates, is the world’s largest conference on laboratory medicine and technology.

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