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Pediatr Neonatol. 2014 Dec;55(6):444-8. doi: 10.1016/j.pedneo.2013.12.008. Epub 2014 Apr 30.

Reliability of reagent strips for semi-quantitative measurement of glucosuria in a neonatal intensive care setting.

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Amalia Children's Center, Isala, Zwolle, The Netherlands. Electronic address:
Department of General Practice, University of Groningen, University Medical Centre Groningen, The Netherlands.
Department of Clinical Chemistry, Isala Clinics, Zwolle, The Netherlands.
Academic Medical Centre, Department of Neonatology, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Amalia Children's Center, Isala, Zwolle, The Netherlands.



Glucosuria in preterm infants is often measured using a visually readable reagent strip, e.g., when monitoring total parenteral nutrition or during sepsis or when treating with corticosteroids. However, the specific circumstances in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), such as the use of diapers and the high temperature in incubators, could affect its reliability.


To evaluate the reliability of the semi-quantitative measurement of glucosuria under the specific circumstances of a NICU setting.


Nine hundred assessments of artificially supplemented (contrived) urine samples, intended to simulate pathological specimens, were performed under the following varying conditions: environmental temperature (21°C and 34°C); different times of contact of the urine with the diaper; and using two different methods of collecting urine from the diaper. Each reagent strip was read independently by three observers. The test strips scores were categorized as 0, 1+, 2+, 3+, or 4+ in ascending degree of glucosuria.


Agreement was excellent under all the different conditions (temperature, weighted kappa (κ(w)) = 0.92; method of urine collection, κ(w) = 0.88; time, p = 0.266). Inter-observer reliability was very good (multi-rater κ = 0.81). The deviation between the different conditions was seldom larger than one category (2.9%). The reagent strip readings were concordant with the true urinary glucose concentrations in 79.0% of assessments. The discordance was never larger than one category.


The reliability of the semi-quantitative measurement of glucosuria in newborn infants using reagent strips is good, even under the conditions of a NICU. Changes in the rating of reagent strips of more than one category are most likely to be beyond measurement error.


agreement; dipsticks; glucosticks; precision; reproducibility; urine; validity

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