Review article: glucose measurement in the operating room: more complicated than it seems

Anesth Analg. 2010 Apr 1;110(4):1056-65. doi: 10.1213/ANE.0b013e3181cc07de. Epub 2010 Feb 8.


Abnormalities of blood glucose are common in patients undergoing surgery, and in recent years there has been considerable interest in tight control of glucose in the perioperative period. Implementation of any regime of close glycemic control requires more frequent measurement of blood glucose, a function for which small, inexpensive, and rapidly responding point-of-care devices might seem highly suitable. However, what is not well understood by many anesthesiologists and other staff caring for patients in the perioperative period is the lack of accuracy of home glucose meters that were designed for self-monitoring of blood glucose by patients. These devices have been remarketed to hospitals without appropriate additional testing and without an appropriate regulatory framework. Clinicians who are accustomed to the high level of accuracy of glucose measurement by a central laboratory device or by an automated blood gas analyzer may be unaware of the potential for harmful clinical errors that are caused by the inaccuracy exhibited by many self-monitoring of blood glucose devices, especially in the hypoglycemic range. Knowledge of the limitations of these meters is essential for the perioperative physician to minimize the possibility of a harmful measurement error. In this article, we will highlight these areas of interest and review the indications, technology, accuracy, and regulation of glucose measurement devices used in the perioperative setting.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Chemical Analysis / instrumentation*
  • Blood Chemical Analysis / standards
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemia / blood
  • Hypoglycemia / diagnosis
  • Legislation, Medical
  • Monitoring, Intraoperative / instrumentation*
  • Monitoring, Intraoperative / standards
  • Operating Rooms / standards*
  • Point-of-Care Systems
  • Reference Standards
  • Reproducibility of Results


  • Blood Glucose