{Diabetes Management} Home A1c Test Fail

by Leighann on January 25, 2012

I’ve been curious about the home A1c tests. We have an A1c done in office every three to four months, but sometimes I wish I could check in between to see if changes we’ve made are making any difference. (And, yes I know the A1c is only one measurement of how well diabetes is being managed.)

I saw the Bayer A1cNow Selfcheck kits on sale and decided that it was worth it to buy a box and check it out. That evening I pulled it out and did the test and was absolutely SHOCKED at the number that popped up. There is NO WAY that Q’s A1c was 10.5.

That would indicate an average BG of 255. I don’t think so!

So not only was I totally upset and discouraged, but I was perplexed. I wrote it off as inaccurate and decided to wait until our next endo appointment and use the second test in the box to compare. In the meantime I saw two other bloggers use the home kit and they each seemed to think that the test was accurate enough.

Our next endo appointment rolled around. I have been struggling with Q’s A1c’s (both literally and emotionally) because they are higher than I would like them to be and we made some changes in the past couple of months that we really thought would bring it down. In fact her A1c dropped 0.5, a much appreciated improvement.

We still have a little way to go, but we made a couple more changes to I:C ratios and correction factors that I think will help. We also talked about doing the iPro again. (Unfortunately this clinic requires three separate visits: putting it on, taking it off, and discussing results with the doctor in person. It’s 90 minutes each way for us.)

Bayer A1cNow SelfCheckBayer A1cNow SelfCheckBayer A1cNow SelfCheckBayer A1cNow SelfCheckBayer A1cNow SelfCheck

Armed with an A1c taken in the endo’s office (finger prick, not blood draw), I pulled out the home A1c test to check it’s accuracy.

It was 1.8 HIGHER than the result at the endo.

FAIL.

I followed the instructions each time. We both washed hands each time. I don’t think I did anything to mess it up. (Plus if I can’t do it right, then they have no business selling them to the masses.)

Long story short, the Bayer A1cNow Selfcheck test does not get the D-Mom Seal of Approval. I won’t waste my money (or shock at seeing a super high number) ever again.

Have you tried an at home A1c test? Did you feel like it was accurate?

Further Reading

Moments of Wonderful A1c Now – Trying out the home test

Diabetes Mine Home A1C Testing vs. The Lab

Disclosure: I paid for the home A1c test with my own money. Bayer did not ask me to write about their product. Opinions are my own.

All images are copyright D-Mom Blog and D-Mom Media and may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

1 tmana January 25, 2012 at 8:09 am

Interesting. Every time I’ve used it in conjunction with a lab draw, the A1C At Home was 0.5 to 1.0% lower than the lab draw…

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2 Leighann January 25, 2012 at 8:55 am

I’m trying to figure out what the difference is. All the reports I’ve seen from adults said they are pretty close. But I can’t see that there would be a difference between a child and an adult.

Maybe they are pretty accurate for A1c’s in the 6’s or 7’s but once you approach 8 or higher all accuracy goes out the window.

All I know is that I almost had a heart attack when 10.5 popped up. That had to have been AT LEAST 2.0 higher than she was.

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3 Heather Bishop January 25, 2012 at 8:17 am

I wonder what they would say if you called them? I wonder if you repeated the test at the endo’s office on a different machine if it would be the same? I am thinking that Bayer would say they have x% of a range to be in. That’s what the glucose meter companies told me when we were trying to figure out why we would get such a range between numbers. I’m glad you reviewed these. I wish I could research things like I mentioned above with out re-poking my son each time. I really wish all these testers at home would be something we could rely on. Now I won’t waste my money. Thanks for the review!

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4 allison January 25, 2012 at 8:39 am

We did this on the same day as our last endo visit. Home A1c was 0.3 lower than at the endo(they do it via fingerprick at the office, not a lab draw)

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5 Sysy January 25, 2012 at 8:55 am

Thanks for sharing this info. I wonder if the fact these kits were on sale somehow correlate to their inaccuracy? I know that expired strips still work but their accuracy is affected. Do you know if the kit showed a best by date or something? That would be interesting to know. Anyway, thanks for this info. I’ll stick with getting my tests with the endo since these kits aren’t especially cheap.

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6 Kat January 25, 2012 at 9:01 am

I have used the same tests….but only to test me and my son that does not have diabetes to have a baseline for us. Mine was normal and so was his. Been thinking about testing my son with D again…we have a lab slip to do his blood work and Id like to compare it.

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7 Kathy January 25, 2012 at 9:04 am

Yes I’ve tried both the Bayer A1c Now and Walmart mail-in tests. Only once was either anywhere near the lab value (Bayer test). My experience is like yours, they run high. Probably not worth the $ for the average type 1 PWD. Not sure if t2s might have different results.

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8 Heather Fisher January 25, 2012 at 9:52 am

I did this exact test (had a $5 off coupon) at home in October because I had 4 months in between endo appointments and got a 6.0% on it at home. At my endo appointment 6 weeks later, December, I had a 6.0% in their office with this kit.

I’m sorry you had such inaccuracies. I cannot speak to them, myself.

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9 Stacey D. January 25, 2012 at 11:10 am

I had mixed emotions about the a1c now kit. I’ve used it multiple times – getting errors and no results quite a few of them. When I did get results however, the first time matched exactly to my result at the endo’s office. I loved it at that point! lol The second time I compared it was 8. something where my endo’s test resulted in around 7. Then the last time I compared I got my hopes up with a 6.4 result and again my endo’s result was 7. I haven’t bought one since then and I probably won’t.

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10 Michelle Gonzalez January 25, 2012 at 5:10 pm

That’s so weird. I use this same test regularly between Endo appointments and it’s usually really close. I used it about a month ago and got 6.3, and 3 weeks later at the Endo she was 6.4.

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11 chrissy pierman January 25, 2012 at 8:02 pm

Wow…thanks for the review, i was thinking of doing one some time, now i won’t waste my time, my girl actually had a 10.5 A1c four months ago, that was right at the time we started her on an insulin pump, so that number reflects how well we were doing on shots, lol, the last one was 9.5 and i’m hoping to bring that down significantly now that we are getting better control on the pump than when we were doing shots.

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12 Sara January 28, 2012 at 5:41 pm

This may sound like a stupid question but did you make sure it wasn’t expired? Mike Durbin (I think) almost bought an expired box, and I did and had to return it to the store for a new one. I’m thinking they don’t sell enough to keep track of them.

And I wish I hadn’t messed up one of the tests so that I could compare them to each other.

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13 Michelle February 17, 2014 at 11:52 am

I have used A1c home test kits for a little more than a year to monitor my progress between 6 month or 3 month clinic tests for my type 1 diabetes. Home tests near the clinic tests have been .2 higher or lower.

BUT I just found a report from the National Health Institute that says clinic A1c test are only accurate plus or minus 0.5%, i.e., a report of 7.0 could mean real level is as low as 6.5 or as high as 7.5.

So the home tests may be no more unreliable that the clinic tests! I can’t believe my physician never discussed this with me.

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14 George Muns August 2, 2014 at 11:04 am

I have used the Bayer A1c test kit ever since they hit the market. Found to be very close to my blood draws at the VA. Problems may be the way the person is shaking the vial or the way the blood sample is put into the meter. My Endo MD swears that it is as accurate as the lab tests and would accept it as a test he could rely on. The test kit is only a guide to check on your own progress. It is only an aid to you.

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