Diabetes patients may soon be able to take samples of their own blood in the comfort of their own home, cutting down hospital visits. An alternative blood sampling procedure has been evaluated by scientists for the first time, and convinced patients through its user-friendliness.
Scientists from Ghent University Hospital, Belgium have conducted a study published in Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine that fits in with the current trend of micro- and home sampling, where patients are encouraged to manage their blood sampling themselves. The scientists also investigated the user-friendliness of the different sampling techniques, and which of the techniques would be preferred by patients to use in the future.
Volumetric absorptive microsampling (VAMS) is a novel sampling technique which uses a device with an absorbent tip, attached to a handle that collects a fixed volume of blood. By touching a drop of blood, the tip is filled automatically by capillary action. Blood drops are obtained by a simple finger prick.
This way of sampling is easy and can be performed by the patient at home. After drying, the samples can be sent to the lab via standard postal services. The patient does not have to go to the hospital for a venepuncture. Analysis in the lab prior to consultation allows the clinician to readily have the patient’s actual lab values, which can then be discussed during consultation.
The Belgian researchers explored the possibility of using VAMS as a tool for monitoring of glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) in diabetes patients in a home sampling context. Measurement of HbA1c is essential for the monitoring of glucose levels in diabetes patients. The percentage of HbA1c reflects the average glucose concentration of the last 100-120 days and is predictive for the development of diseases of the blood vessels in diabetes patients.
Adult and paediatric patients were recruited during consultation with their endocrinologist (hormone specialist) in the hospital. Conventional blood samples were taken and analysed immediately in the lab. After instruction, patients were given a home sampling kit including a sampling brochure and a small survey. The patients were able to use the VAMS technique at home and send the samples to the lab.
The blood results obtained using VAMS were compared with the classical samples taken at consultation. VAMS sampling was the patients’ preferred sampling technique; however the precision of the results decreased with time due to the drying process of the blood. Following further optimization through a follow-up study, this home sampling strategy may offer a convenient alternative for conventional blood monitoring of diabetes patients reducing time spent at hospital.
Read the original article here:
Nick Verougstraete, Bruno Lapauw, Sara Van Aken, Joris Delanghe, Christophe Stove, Veronique Stove: Volumetric absorptive microsampling at home as an alternative tool for the monitoring of HbA1c in diabetes patients, 12.10.2016