Can capillary whole blood glucose and venous plasma glucose measurements be used interchangeably in diagnosis of diabetes mellitus?

Scand J Clin Lab Invest. 2002;62(2):159-66. doi: 10.1080/003655102753611799.


According to new proposals from the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and WHO, venous peripheral plasma is the preferred system for measuring glucose for diagnosing diabetes mellitus. Owing to the instability of glucose in plasma after blood sampling, strict well-defined and standardized preanalytical conditions are essential to ensure that glucose concentration measured in plasma reflects real blood glucose in the patient. This is in contrast to the capillary whole blood measurements, which are easy to perform and well established. We investigated whether it is possible to perform analysis on capillary whole blood but express the results as plasma glucose values and hence obtain comparable results and the same predictive values for diagnosis in the individual patient? The conclusion of our investigations is that these two systems are not interchangeable and that conversion should not be done for diagnostic purposes where plasma determinations are recommended.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Blood
  • Blood Glucose / analysis*
  • Capillaries
  • Chemistry, Clinical / methods*
  • Chemistry, Clinical / standards*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / diagnosis*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Plasma
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Veins


  • Blood Glucose