Can you measure plasma

Risk of confusion when measuring whole blood or blood plasma

diabetesDE demands standardized measuring systems for blood sugar values

Technological progress enables diabetics to measure blood sugar themselves with measuring devices that are more and more accurate. However, the measured values ​​can lead to errors in diabetes therapy. The reason for this are two different calibration methods to which manufacturers adjust the measuring systems available today. Problems arise in particular when patients determine their blood sugar values ​​with several measuring devices. diabetesDE, the German Diabetes Society (DDG) and the POCT-AG of the German Society for Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (DGKL) therefore advocate standardized measurement methods.

The aim of the new initiative is to enable diabetics to compare their blood sugar values ​​when they measure with several devices or when they exchange their measuring device. The systems available today show results based on either whole blood or blood plasma. There is a high risk of confusion: Due to the different concentration of the sugar components in plasma or whole blood, the results are different - even if both measure correctly. On average, the blood sugar value in plasma measurements is eleven percent higher than in whole blood measurements. However, diabetics often cannot see what their measuring devices are using to obtain their results.

"Self-monitoring of blood sugar levels has become better and better in recent years thanks to technical progress," emphasizes Professor Dr. med. Thomas Danne, CEO of diabetesDE and President of the German Diabetes Society (DDG). “However, patients and doctors must agree on whether the agreed individual target values ​​relate to plasma or whole blood calibration. As long as there are still both calibration systems in a transition phase, the different measurement results with different devices can lead to confusion and uncertainty. "

The diabetes experts demand uniform calibration from the manufacturers so that in the future patients can compare their self-measured values ​​just as reliably and continuously. A further risk of confusion would also be averted by standardized systems: Doctors discuss target blood sugar levels with their patients. This communication is error-prone as long as measuring systems are different. Nevertheless, no patient has to replace their measuring device: all blood sugar devices on the market can continue to be used without any worries. The measured blood values ​​are correct with both measurement methods.

If patients know on what basis their measuring devices are working, they can already convert and compare: the whole blood value multiplied by the factor 1.11 results in the plasma value. DiabetesDE has published sample calculations and explanations of the basics of the measurement methods for patients on the website If you don't know on what basis your own blood sugar device measures, you can ask the service hotline of your manufacturer.

Further information on the Internet: patient information from diabetesDE to compare the measured values ​​of blood sugar measuring devices with whole blood and plasma calibration

Statement from diabetesDE and DDG on the recommendation to use plasma instead of whole blood calibration