Background: The accuracy of point-of-care blood glucose (BG) meters is important for the detection of dysglycemia, calculation of insulin doses, and the calibration of continuous glucose monitors. The objective of this study was to compare the accuracy of commercially available glucose meters in a challenging laboratory study using samples with a wide range of reference BG and hemoglobin values.
Methods: Fresh, discarded blood samples from a hospital STAT laboratory were either used without modification, spiked with a glucose solution, or incubated at 37°C to produce 347 samples with an even distribution across reference BG levels from 20 to 440 mg/dl and hemoglobin values from 9 to 16 g/dl. We measured the BG of each sample with 17 different commercially available glucose meters and the reference method (YSI 2300) at the same time. We determined the mean absolute relative difference (MARD) for each glucose meter, overall and stratified by reference BG and by hemoglobin level.
Results: The accuracy of different meters widely, exhibiting a range of MARDs from 5.6% to 20.8%. Accuracy was lower in the hypoglycemic range, but was not consistently lower in samples with anemic blood hemoglobin levels.
Conclusions: The accuracy of commercially available glucose meters varies widely. Although the sample mix in this study was much more challenging than those that would be collected under most use conditions, some meters were robust to these challenges and exhibited high accuracy in this setting. These data on relative accuracy and robustness to challenging samples may be useful in informing the choice of a glucose meter.
Keywords: MARD; accuracy; blood glucose; diabetes; glucose meter; hemoglobin; plasma glucose.