Differences in Glucose Values Obtained From Point-of-Care Glucose Meters and Laboratory Analysis in Critically Ill Patients

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Abstract

Background

Blood for glucose analysis is often obtained interchangeably from indwelling catheters and fingersticks.

Objectives

To determine the level of agreement between glucose values obtained by laboratory analysis and with a pointofcare device for blood from 2 different sources: fingerstick and a central venous catheter.

Methods

A method-comparison design was used. Point-of-care values for blood from fingersticks and catheters were compared with laboratory values for blood from catheters in a convenience sample of 67 critically ill patients. The effects of hematocrit level and finger edema on differences in glucose values between the 2 methods were also evaluated. A t test was used to determine differences in glucose values obtained via the 2 methods. Differences and limits of agreement were also calculated.

Results

Laboratory glucose values for blood from a catheter differed significantly from point-of-care values for blood from the catheter (t1,66 = -9.18; P < .001) and from a fingerstick (t 1,66 = 6.53; P < .001). Glucose values for the 2 methods differed by 20 mg/dL or more for 1 of 6 patients (15%) for catheter samples and for 1 of 5 (21%) for fingerstick samples. Point-of-care glucose values for fingerstick and catheter samples did not differ (P = .98). Hematocrit level significantly explained the difference in glucose values between the 2 methods for both catheter (R2 = 0.288; P < .001) and fingerstick (R2 = 0.280; P = .02) samples.

Conclusions

Use of a commonly used point-of-care device when precise glucose values are needed may lead to faulty treatment decisions. (American Journal of Critical Care. 2009;18:65–72)

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