Aim: Point-of-care testing (POCT) is gaining renewed interest, especially in resource-limiting primary health care, due to rise in prevalence of communicable and non-communicable diseases hence POCT needs continuous appraisal.
Methods: Random glucose and glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) were measured in 104 diabetic patients using standard laboratory multichannel analyzer 917. The utility of venous blood compared to capillary blood in measuring HbA1c was evaluated in a subset of 20 patients using a POCT device, DCA Vantage. Lastly, the POCT was validated against the laboratory multichannel analyser 917, in measurement of HbA1c in a second subset of 46 patients.
Results: Random blood glucose levels and HbA1c levels moderately correlated (r2 = 0.56; p < 0.0001). Random glucose tests showed that 41% of the patients had poor glycaemic control while HbA1c showed 74%. Venous and capillary blood in HbA1c showed strong correlation (r2 = 0.89440; p < 0.001. There was also strong correlation (r = 0.9802; p < 0.0001) in HbA1c measured using the DCA Vantage and the standard laboratory analyser, Multichannel Analyser 917.
Conclusion: Venous or capillary blood can be used in POCT for HbA1c. POCT is ideal for monitoring glucose control and management of diabetes in resource-limited countries such as South Africa.