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Alternate-Site Testing Still ‘Feasible and Reliable’

For the purpose of detecting low blood glucose, researchers say you should test at the fingertip.

However, alternative-site testing on the arm with blood glucose meters requiring only a very small drop of blood is “feasible and reliable under routine clinical conditions,” conclude researchers in Italy at the Padova Diabetes Centre.

Type 1s and 2s in five outpatient diabetes clinics were observed in a study comparing glucose measurements between the fingertip and forearm using the OneTouch Ultra by LifeScan, which requires only 1 microliter of blood.

Participants were requested to use the OneTouch Ultra at home for one week for the measurement of BG levels from both sites. Patients completed a questionnaire about their experiences testing blood samples from the fingertip and forearm.

Seventy-one of the 112 patients say that the collection of blood from the forearm caused no pain or less pain than at the traditional site.

“Only 17 percent of the patients declared that it was impossible to obtain any blood from the forearm, while 63 percent reported with satisfaction that the quantity [of the blood sample] requested was small,” the researchers wrote.

Thirty-two percent of the participants said the forearm was their preferred test site.

-Diabetes Technology and Therapeutics, 2003;5(6):983-989.

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