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-   -   Calibrating Meters? (http://k9diabetes.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1012)

CarolW 10-18-2008 10:23 PM

Calibrating Meters?
Marion - I don't know what kind of significance a 50-point difference (in U.S. measurement) has. I'm used to mmol/L, like you, so I understand your mmol/L figures, too. A difference of about 3 mmol/L. In one way, it looks like a big difference, but considering the margin for error for any one reading, plus or minus 20% - an industry standard for HUMAN meters (that's what LifeScan, makers of OneTouch, told me), I just don't know.

Kathy, Natalie, or anybody else - can you calibrate a meter properly based on just ONE reading? I'd think you'd need several!

Sat, 18 Oct 2008 22:23:09

Cara's Mom 10-19-2008 06:08 AM

Re: Meter Says....
Carol, I do not believe there is one meter (human or animal) that will give a "perfect" reading. Like you said the human meter has a margin from 10 to 20% plus or minus. It's one tool out of several to get a little better picture of what's going on. There are the clinical signs you watch for too.

CarolW 10-19-2008 06:20 AM

Re: Meter Says....
Exactly, Marion. And we also watch for sources of stress in our dogs; they too can affect BG levels. It's a complex thing!

Sun, 19 Oct 2008 06:20:23

We Hope 10-19-2008 07:02 AM

Re: Calibrating Meters?

You are right--for people and animals, it's just another tool to try to help you discover how your bg's are doing. Diabetes societies for people tell their members the same thing--take your meter with you often to a doctor's appointment for blood work and have them use some of the blood draw for it to determine the variance between your particular meter and the lab's values.

The human meters have to meet the 20% minimum standards in the US set by FDA or they won't go on the US market. Animal based meters do not need FDA approval at all.

The 20% minimum rule is over 10 years old--it dates back to 1997.


"FDA's glucometer standards date back to 1997. Here are the basics as they were written then; the use of the term "future" would likely apply to all glucometers currently available.

"The consensus document expressed the following performance goals: a) "The goal of all future Self Monitoring Blood Glucose (SMBG) systems should be to achieve a variability (system plus user) of 10% at glucose concentrations of 30-400 mg/dL 100% of the time. However, the panel is aware that the accuracy required for clinical management has not been rigorously defined.", b) "With current systems, SMBG measurements should be within 15% of the results of the reference measurements.", c) "Approximately 50-70% of individuals who receive some sort of formal training are capable of obtaining a result within 20% of the reference method; however, performance may deteriorate over time.""

And you see the wish for meters to vary only 10% instead of 20%.

Anyone with a meter with test strips that need to be matched to a code entered into the meter by hand or with the special code strip for that purpose calibrates the meter on doing that. Many of the newer meters self-calibrate and don't require this--you see them advertised as "no coding required".


You should be doing a control test for accuracy on your meter on a regular basis. Most to all of them include the control solution in the original meter package. The solution has an expiration date just as the test strips do. Using control solution that's out of date won't produce accurate test results--test strips that are out of date won't produce accurate blood glucose test results either. When you need control solution, you can either buy it from your pharmacy (making sure you get the one for your brand and model) or call the meter manufacturer's Customer Care number to arrange to purchase it from them.


The mmoL-mg/dL and mg/dL-mmoL converter at the link should help with the measurement dfferences.


Cara's Mom 10-19-2008 10:55 AM

Re: Calibrating Meters?
Kathy, but then again with the controle solution you have to fall within a "range"....Can anybody say if the readings will differ if you fall in the lower or higher part of that range? They just say not to use the strips/meter if you fall outside the range!!!

We Hope 10-19-2008 11:22 AM

Re: Calibrating Meters?

If you get a reading that's outside of the "range" with the AlphaTrak, the meter will not give an accurate reading. The process is the same for another Abbott meter, the FreeStyle Lite, which I picked at random from Abbott's line of human bg meters:


Pages 12-13--Performing a Control Test

"FreeStyle Control Solution is a red liquid which contains a fixed amount of glucose that is used to:

"Practice testing without having to use your own blood.

"Ensure that your meter and test strips are working together properly.

"Control solution test results should fall within the range printed on the test strip vial.

"Important: The control solution range is a target range for control solution only. It is not a target range for your blood glucose level.

"If control solution test results are out of this range, repeat the test.

"If your control solution test results continue to fall outside of the range printed on the test strip vial, do not use the FreeStyle Lite System to test your blood glucose. Contact Customer Care.

"Caution: Results from FreeStyle Control Solution tests do not reflect your blood glucose level."

So when you do a test of the meter with the control solution, there is X amount of glucose in that solution the meter is meant to be able to pick up and measure. If the test results on that given amount of glucose in the solution are not in the range you see on the testing strips vial, that means that the accuracy of the meter is off to the point where you won't get a true reading when using it for bg's.

The meter should be accurate as long as it falls within range of what the test strip vial says. All of them are going to be less accurate than the expensive lab equipment, but as long as the control solution reading you get is in the range your test strip vial gives, you should be getting proper readings from the meter.

Does this help any? :)


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