Meter Review -- Some Questions on Accuracy

Given that I've visited the doctor's office once with most of my suite of meters, and several times with the Flash, a few sets of results are in order. Please remember that these are single spot readings, and I'm dealing with only ONE instance of each meter in question. Members of this community have posted issues regarding individual meters of a particular brand and model, with the same models being touted and panned by different users.

The readings from my most recent doctor's visit: lab comparison to meters. The lab results show an earlier time than the first group of meter checks, even though the checks were performed immediately after the draw. There was a bit of an interruption before the second group. The two One Touch tests were from the same vial of strips; I couldn't test the UltraMini because I'd not realized I only had 2 One Touch strips with me.

Time Lab Flash FS Lite Aviva Ultra2 UltraSmart Keynote
12:22pm 95
12:39pm 86 92 102
12:53pm 111 107 91

Based on this single spot reading, one might consider the One Touch monitors to be the more accurate read. However, these are single readings. The only meter for which I have a history of comparison readings is the Flash, which I've had for about five years. For comparison, I present the most recent readings from the doctor's lab against my Flash:

Date Lab Flash
12/04/07 93 91
06/10/08 108 108
08/31/08 91 85
09/23/08 95 86

Over the almost five years I've had the Flash, the difference between it and lab results has never been more than 5 or 6 points, regardless of whether or not it is a fasting reading. Most of the readings have been within one or two points, the Flash being slightly lower than the lab. This suggests that over time, both the Flash and the One Touch monitors should be equally accurate in the range around 100 mg/dl. Since I rarely spike over 160 (and usually consider a 2-hour postprandial over 110 as a "spike") and I rarely dip below 80, it is harder for me to test the accuracy of these meters in the upper and lower registers so important to a T1.

Wow, talk about tight control. And you’re a T1?

OK never mind. Just saw the profile-T2. That explains such good control. I was going to say you have awesome control for a T1!

Consumer Reports just ranked a bunch of meters in Sept. I posted the link but you may have to be a member.
Here is their quick recomendation…
Best blood-glucose meters:
OneTouch UltraMini $20
Ascensia Contour $80
ReliOn Ultima (Wal-Mart) $9, CR Best Buy
Accu-Chek Compact Plus $73

All four models tested well, delivering accurate, consistent readings in about 5 seconds. The Ascensia and the ReliOn can store hundreds more glucose readings than the OneTouch and upload them to a computer. (A newer version of the OneTouch is said to have additional memory and uploading capability.) The Ascensia and Accu-Chek models automatically code test strips.

This post was the most recent in a series:

There are actually a couple more tests I want to run these meters through and report on. One is a contaminant test (so far, they have all failed the balsamic vinegar contamination check); the other is the cold-finger check. I am sufficiently disappointed with the blood pressure cuff on the Advocate that I have been actively disrecommending it. I’ve recently added a Wavesense Presto into my collection and have been running some occasional tests with that. So far it has been running significantly higher than all of the other meters, but I only have a few data points for that meter.

Is anyone familiar with the meter that you use on your forearm or palm? They advertise it on TV. I cant remember the name of it. Becky

I encountered my 2 ultra mini meters where off by more than 30%, resulting in my A1C going from 7.2 to 8.9 within 3 months. I usually note my reading the day of fasting blood work and had a 100 point difference and just told myself hmmmm! Usually they are right on the money with my meter. But these meters where new, so I didn’t think they could be off. I have my very old Ultra Smart meter that I tested with and it had the accurate reading. So I am trusting my instincts more and more.

Linda: 7.2 to 8.9 in three months?! I can totally understand your frustration! Have you run side-by-side tests with the three meters, using strips from the same exact vial of strips (and ideally, a single huge drop of blood)? That would help isolate whether the issue was a batch of strips or the meters. There will still be some meter-to-meter variation, but it should be minimal if all the meters are correctly calibrated. If you run several of these side-by-side-by-side tests, each with the meters in a different order, each time using strips from a single vial (it can be a different vial each time, but we are talking three strips from a single vial), and all are fasting or pre-meal tests, then a sample of 8 to 10 tests should be sufficient to prove the issue.

Tmana, I actually tested 3 meters with the same drop of blood. The 2 new mini’s were off. And when I called OneTouch, they told me that you had to prick 3 different fingers, because the blood could start to clot and then it would not be an accurate reading. So with them on the phone I did this 3 times on 3 meters with 3 different fingers (OMG I’m glad I have 10 fingers). And from a new vial of strips. They shipped 2 new meters and I received it the next day. Which was a nice thing. But something that she said was mind blowing …they consider a 30% differential to be normal. And something else, this May my daughter (T1) was home from college and left her Novolog pens in her apartment, so we got a prescriptions filled. For the next 3 days she ran high BG readings, showing some trace of ketones, the doctor instructed us to go to the hospital before she went into full blown acidosis.

The doctors determined she needed a refresher training and wanted her to stay 3 days in the hospital. Using her insulin pen under their supervision she wasn’t getting better. Long story short the insulin pen she was using was a bad batch, because as soon as the hospital gave her their insulin from a vial her sugars dropped. You hear about that going on and we are carefull not to leave the insulin in hot areas, but you never really think it will happen to you. This was a new pen from a newly filled prescription. We did take the insulin back, with a letter from the hospital and the pharmacy commented this sometimes happens! What do you do?