Multicenter Study of the Prevalence of Blood Contamination on Point-of-Care Glucose Meters and Recommendations for Controlling Contamination

Richard F. Louie, Matthew J. Lau, Judith H. Lee, Zuping Tang, Gerald J Kost

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


This study is the first conducted to characterize the prevalence of blood contamination on hospital glucose meters, which potentially may spread infection. Twelve academic and nonacademic affiliated hospitals participated in hospitalwide surveys for blood contamination on glucose meters used in patient service areas. Each glucose meter was inspected visually and sampled for testing with a reduced phenolphthalein test for hemoglobin to detect the presence of blood. Glucose meters from 9 urban, 2 suburban, and 1 rural hospital were surveyed. The overall mean frequency of glucose meters with blood contamination was 30.2 ± 17.5% (range, 0.0-60.5%; median, 34.6%). The mean frequency of ICU meters with blood contamination was 48.2 ± 30.2%. ICU meters were 2.20 times more likely to be contaminated than meters on the general medicine floors. The number of operators and location of the hospital were significant predictors for blood contamination. An increase of 100 operators increases the odds of contamination by 6% (P = 0.0002). In this study group, the odds of contamination were higher in the urban hospitals compared with suburban or rural hospitals. Blood contamination is present on hospital glucose meters. The number of instrument operators represent a risk factor associated with instrument contamination. ICU meters were more likely to be contaminated. The authors recommend monitoring and surveillance, and a defined infection control protocol for point-of-care testing instruments to reduce the prevalence of contamination. These actions should help decrease the risk of spread of infectious agents and nosocomial infections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)158-163
Number of pages6
JournalPlastic Surgical Nursing
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2005


  • compliance
  • disinfection
  • infection control
  • national guidelines
  • nosocomial infection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Medical–Surgical
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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