Blood glucose concentrations of arm and finger during dynamic glucose conditions

Diabetes Technol Ther. 2002;4(1):3-11; discussion 45-7. doi: 10.1089/15209150252924030.


We set out to determine the physiological difference between the capillary blood of the arm and finger with the greatest possible accuracy using the HemoCue B-glucose analyzer on subjects undergoing a meal tolerance test (MTT) or oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). MTT study was performed on 50 subjects who drank a liquid meal (Ensure, 40 g of carbohydrates) and who were tested on the arm and finger every 30 min for up to 4 h. OGTT study was performed on 12 subjects who drank a 100-g glucose solution (Glucola) and were tested on the arm and finger every 15 min during the first hour and thereafter every 30 min for up to 3 h. Average percent glucose difference between arm and finger reached a maximal value about 1 h following glucose load, with arm glucose being about 5% lower than that of finger. At other times, average differences were less than this. At the greatest rate of glucose change (>2 mg/dL-min), mean percent bias was found to be about 6%. Despite these measurable differences, when arm results were plotted on the Clarke error grid against finger values, >97% of the data were within zone A (rest in zone B). Thus, physiological differences between arm and finger were clinically insignificant. Our studies with HemoCue confirmed the existence of measurable physiological glucose differences between arm and finger following a glucose challenge, but these differences were found to be clinically insignificant even in those subjects in whom they were measurable.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arm / blood supply
  • Blood Chemical Analysis / methods
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Capillaries / physiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / blood*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood*
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / metabolism*
  • Eating
  • Female
  • Fingers / blood supply
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Humans
  • Kinetics
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Regression Analysis
  • Reproducibility of Results


  • Blood Glucose
  • Dietary Carbohydrates