Comparison of fingerstick hemoglobin A1c levels assayed by DCA 2000 with the DCCT/EDIC central laboratory assay: results of a Diabetes Research in Children Network (DirecNet) Study

Pediatr Diabetes. 2005 Mar;6(1):13-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-543X.2005.00088.x.


Background: The Diabetes Control and Complications Trial/Epidemiology of Diabetes Interventions and Complications (DCCT/EDIC) high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) method for measuring hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) serves as a reference standard against which other assays are compared. The DCA 2000 + Analyzer (Bayer Inc., Tarrytown, NY, USA), which uses an immunoassay, is a very popular device for measuring HbA1c levels in pediatric diabetes practices.

Objective: To determine how HbA1c values measured with the DCA 2000 in a multisite, pediatric diabetes clinic setting compare with corresponding HbA1c values measured in the DCCT/EDIC laboratory.

Design/methods: To examine this question, the Diabetes Research in Children Network (DirecNet) used the DCA 2000 in five clinical centers to measure baseline HbA1c levels in 200 youth with type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) (aged 12.5 +/- 2.8 yr) who were participating in an outpatient clinical trial. At the same visit, an additional blood sample was obtained, refrigerated, and shipped to the DCCT/EDIC central laboratory for determination of HbA1c values.

Results: The central laboratory HbA1c value averaged 8.0 +/- 0.9% (mean +/- SD), with a median (25th and 75th quartiles) of 7.8% (7.3 and 8.5%, respectively). The DCA 2000 HbA1c values were strongly correlated (r = 0.94, p < 0.001), but significantly higher than DCCT/EDIC central laboratory values with a mean difference of +0.2% (95% confidence interval +0.14 to 0.23%, p < 0.001). There was some variation in the differences between DCA 2000 and central laboratory values at the five clinical centers (p < 0.001) with mean differences ranging between 0.0 and 0.3%, but differences between the two methods did not vary significantly by age or gender.

Conclusion: Measurements of HbA1c by the DCA 2000 compare favorably with the DCCT/EDIC central laboratory method, albeit with slightly higher values.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Blood Chemical Analysis / instrumentation*
  • Blood Chemical Analysis / methods*
  • Child
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid* / standards
  • Female
  • Fingers / blood supply*
  • Glycated Hemoglobin / analysis*
  • Humans
  • Immunoassay* / standards
  • Male
  • Reference Standards


  • Glycated Hemoglobin A