Assessing modifiable risk factors for metabolic and cardiovascular diseases prior to the onset of disease could allow effective prevention initiatives. Equally, monitoring in diabetic people glucose, haemoglobin A1c, ketones, lipid profiles, and urinary microalbumin concentrations allows the prevention, early detection, and treatment of diabetes-related acute and chronic complications and has a positive impact on the process of care in the management of patients with diabetes. The point-of-care testing (PoCT) technology offers convenient aspects: immediate results, decision-making without the need for repeated visits, use of fingerstick blood samples. More patients could be identified at early stages of their disease/ complication provided that pre-analytical, analytical, and post-analytical errors are minimised. Indeed, prediction requires instruments with proved precision, accuracy, validity, and reliability. Reference laboratory services are now available to manufacturers so to confirm PoCT results. There are several PoC devices on the market that may allow for “real time” screening, diagnosis, and monitoring in diabetes care. Tight glucose control has a key role in long-term health of diabetic people and in the primary prevention of diabetic chronic complications. Diabetic patients are currently educated to control capillary glucose levels daily in order to maintain them within target limits. Blood glucose meters are widely used not only by diabetic patients to self-manage their disease but also by physicians to monitor critically ill patients. Glycated haemoglobin A1c can now be measured with fast and easy automated PoCT instruments to monitor long-term serum glucose regulation. Urinalysis dipsticks and blood betahydroxybutyrate meter allow measuring urine and blood ketones to prevent ketoacidosis. Since the routine measurement of urinary albumin has been suggested in diabetes mellitus as a predictor of overt diabetic nephropathy, semi-quantitative visual dipsticks and quantitative automated methods of urine testing became available for bedside detection of urine albumin at low concentrations and for the determination of the microalbumin creatinine ratio. While the National Cholesterol Education Program recommends that all adults aged 20 years and over have their blood cholesterol checked at least once every 5 years, adult diabetic patients should measure fasting lipid profile at least annually or every two years in case of low-risk lipid values. There are PoCT devices on the market that provide a full lipid panel (total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triglycerides). The overview summarises current state-of-the-art of PoCT in diabetes care.
Keywords: Point of care systems, diabetes mellitus, blood glucose self-monitoring, HbA1c, ketones, lipids, urinary albumin, quality control, blood betahydroxybutyrate meter, ketoacidosis, Waived complexity tests, certificate of waiver (COW)
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