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Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (CCLM)

Published in Association with the European Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (EFLM)

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Within-subject biological variation of glucose and HbA1c in healthy persons and in type 1 diabetes patients

1, 2 / Per Hyltoft Petersen2 / Svein Skeie1, 2 / Øyvind Skadberg1 / Sverre Sandberg2

1Department of Medicine, Stavanger University Hospital, Stavanger, Norway

2Norwegian Center for Quality Improvement of Primary Care Laboratories (NOKLUS), Section for General Practice, Department of Public Health and Primary Health Care, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway

Corresponding author: Siri Carlsen, Department of Medicine, Stavanger University Hospital, Pb 8100, 4068 Stavanger, Norway Phone: +47-95087620, Fax: +47-51519963

Citation Information: Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine. Volume 49, Issue 9, Pages 1501–1507, ISSN (Online) 1437-4331, ISSN (Print) 1434-6621, DOI: 10.1515/CCLM.2011.233, June 2011

Publication History

Published Online:


Background: Several articles describing within-subject biological variation of fasting glucose and HbA1c in healthy populations have been published, but information about biological variation of glucose and HbA1c in patients with type 1 diabetes is scarce. It is reasonable to assume that type 1 diabetics differ from their healthy counterparts in this matter. The aim of our study was to estimate the biological variation of glucose and HbA1c in healthy subjects and in patients with type 1 diabetes.

Methods: Fifteen healthy individuals and 15 type 1 diabetes patients were included. Biological variations were calculated based on blood samples collected weekly for 10 consecutive weeks from the healthy and the eligible of the type 1 diabetes patients.

Results: The within-subject variations of glucose were approximately 5% in healthy individuals and 30% in diabetes patients, and for HbA1c they were 1.2% in healthy individuals and 1.7% in diabetes patients.

Conclusions: In conclusion, we found a high within-subject biological variation of glucose in diabetes patients as expected compared to healthy individuals (30% vs. 5%). The short-term (2 months) within-subject biological variation of HbA1c did not differ significantly between well regulated type 1 diabetes patients and healthy individuals (1.7% vs. 1.2%).

Keywords: adult; diabetes mellitus type 1; glucose; HbA1c

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