Comparison of POCT and central laboratory blood glucose results using arterial, capillary, and venous samples from MICU patients on a tight glycemic protocol

John R. Petersen, Donna F. Graves, Danyel H. Tacker, Anthony O. Okorodudu, Amin A. Mohammad, Victor J. Cardenas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

58 Scopus citations


Background: Point of care (POC) glucose meters are routinely used to monitor glucose levels for patients on tight glycemic control therapy. We determined if glucose values were different for a POC glucose meter as compared to the main clinical laboratory for medical intensive care unit patients on a tight glycemic protocol and whether the site of blood sampling had a significant impact on glucose values. Methods: Eighty-four patients (114 paired samples) who were on a tight glycemic protocol in the period November 2005 through August 2006 were enrolled. After simultaneous blood draws, we compared the glucose levels for the glucose meter (arterial/venous/capillary), blood gas (arterial/venous), and central clinical laboratory (serum/plasma from arterial/venous samples). Results: The mean glucose levels of all arterial/venous/fingerstick samples using the glucose meter demonstrated a positive bias of 0.7-0.9 mmol/l (12.6-16.2 mg/dl) (p < 0.001) relative to central laboratory venous plasma. There was also a smaller positive (0.1-0.3 mmol/l or 1.8-5.4 mg/dl, p < 0.05) bias for arterial/venous blood gas samples and laboratory arterial serum/plasma glucose samples. Using Parkes error grid analysis we were able to show that the bias for arterial or venous POC glucose results would have not impacted clinical care. This was not the case, however, for fingerstick sampling where a high bias could have significantly impacted clinical care. Additionally, in 3 fingerstick samples a severe underestimation (< 46% of the central laboratory plasma result) was found. Conclusion: Glucose meters using arterial/venous whole blood may be utilized in the MICU; however, due to the increased variability of results we do not recommend the routine use of capillary blood sampling for monitoring glucose levels in the MICU setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10-13
Number of pages4
JournalClinica Chimica Acta
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Oct 1 2008



  • Hypoglycemic target
  • Medical intensive care unit
  • Point of care glucose

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical

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