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Clin Chem. 2005 Sep;51(9):1573-6.

Approved IFCC recommendation on reporting results for blood glucose (abbreviated).

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Instrumetation Laboratory, Lexington, MA, USA.


In current clinical practice, plasma and blood glucose are used interchangeably with a consequent risk of clinical misinterpretation. In human blood, glucose, like water, is distributed between erythrocytes and plasma. The molality of glucose (amount of glucose per unit of 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 calibrators, plasma, and erythrocyte fluid can explain some of the differences. Results of glucose measurements depend on sample type and on whether methods require sample dilution or use biosensors in undiluted samples. If the results are mixed up or used indiscriminately, the differences may exceed the maximum allowable error of glucose determinations for diagnosing and monitoring diabetes mellitus, and complicate the treatment. The goal of the IFCC 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 (with 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 the pertinent plasma. The conversion will provide harmonized results, facilitating the classification and care of patients and leading to fewer therapeutic misjudgments.

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