Washing Before Self-Monitoring Yields Best Glucose Results

If hand washing is not possible, second-drop blood glucose testing is the most accurate

FRIDAY, March 11 (HealthDay News) -- Washing hands with soap and water and then using the first drop of blood is best for self-monitoring blood glucose, according to a study published in the March issue of Diabetes Care.

Johanna Hortensius, R.N., from Isala Clinics in Zwolle, Netherlands, and colleagues measured blood glucose concentrations in the first and second drops of blood in 123 patients with diabetes, in a range of different situations. The researchers compared the patients' capillary glucose concentrations to control measurements to assess which situations led to a difference of 10 percent or more in capillary glucose concentrations.

The investigators found that, in unwashed hands, a 10 percent or greater difference was seen in 11 percent of patients in the first drop of blood and in 4 percent of patients in the second drop of blood, compared to control measurements. For patients who handled fruit and did not wash their hands, 88 percent had glucose differences in the first drop of blood, and 11 percent in the second drop of blood. The application of different amounts of external pressure caused 5 to 13 percent of participants to exhibit differences in glucose concentrations compared to control measurements.

"Based on this study, the first choice is to wash the hands with soap and water, dry them, and use the first drop of blood for self-monitoring of blood glucose. If washing hands is not possible, and they are not visibly soiled or exposed to a sugar-containing product, it is acceptable to use the second drop of blood after wiping away the first drop," the authors write.

Sanofi-Aventis and Roche Diagnostics funded the study.

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