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Approved IFCC recommendation on reporting results for blood glucose: International Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine Scientific Division, Working Group on Selective Electrodes and Point-of-Care Testing (IFCC-SD-WG-SEPOCT)

Paul D'Orazio, Robert W. Burnett, Niels Fogh-Andersen, Ellis Jacobs, Katsuhiko Kuwa, Wolf R. Külpmann, Lasse Larsson, Andrzej Lewenstam, Anton H.J. Maas, Gerhard Mager, Jerzy W. Naskalski and Anthony O. Okorodudu


In current clinical practice, plasma and blood glucose are used interchangeably with a consequent risk of clinical misinterpretation. In human blood, glucose is distributed, like water, between erythrocytes and plasma. The molality of glucose (amount of glucose per unit water mass) is the same throughout the sample, but the concentration is higher in plasma, because the concentration of water and therefore glucose is higher in plasma than in erythrocytes. Different devices for the measurement of glucose may detect and report fundamentally different quantities. Different water concentrations in the calibrator, plasma, and erythrocyte fluid can explain some of the differences. Results for glucose measurements depend on the sample type and on whether the method requires sample dilution or uses biosensors in undiluted samples. If the results are mixed up or used indiscriminately, the differences may exceed the maximum allowable error for glucose determinations for diagnosing and monitoring diabetes mellitus, thus complicating patient treatment. The goal of the International Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine, Scientific Division, Working Group on Selective Electrodes and Point of Care Testing (IFCC-SD-WG-SEPOCT) is to reach a global consensus on reporting results. The document recommends reporting the concentration of glucose in plasma (in the unit mmol/L), irrespective of sample type or measurement technique. A constant factor of 1.11 is used to convert concentration in whole blood to the equivalent concentration in plasma. The conversion will provide harmonized results, facilitating the classification and care of patients and leading to fewer therapeutic misjudgments.

Clin Chem Lab Med 2006;44:1486–90.

Corresponding author: Niels Fogh-Andersen, MD, Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Herlev Hospital, 2730 Herlev, Denmark Received for publication 2006-22-9


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Published Online: 2011-9-21
Published in Print: 2006-12-1

©2006 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin New York

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