For people with diabetes the so-called “vital signs” that health care people talk about have to include our blood glucose level. So I couldn’t think of a better name for a blood glucose meter than “Vital.”
Arkray in Edina, Minnesota, seems to agree. At least that’s what the call their new meter. You may not be familiar with Arkray, but it is the world’s fifth largest manufacturer of diabetes self-monitoring systems. This company calls their new meter the “Glucocard Vital.”
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the Glucocard Vital in November. Arkray just ramped up production and sent me one of the first of these meters, the newest meter on the market.
Yesterday I put my Glucocard Vital through its paces. It performed perfectly for me. Since I test so many blood glucose meters, I like to use them before ever looking at the user instruction manual.
I just pulled out one of the test strips, inserted it in the meter, which then turned out automatically with the battery already in place. Even the date was already correctly set. Later, of course, I did read the manual to see if it contains anything of importance that I need to tell you about.
The Newest Blood Glucose Meter
The Glucocard Vital has all the features that we expect of new blood glucose meters and perhaps one that you haven’t heard of yet. It takes only half a microliter of blood, has a short seven-second test time, and is auto-coded. That means we don’t have to adjust a new vial of test strips to the meter, which can prevent inaccurate readings when we forget to code them.
In addition, it uses a type of test strip chemistry — technically called glucose oxidase — that isn’t affected by some serious interferences that cause testing errors in most other common test strips. LifeScan uses the same test strip chemistry in its OneTouch meters. Of course, all strips are sensitive to certain substances, so you need to check if you are taking high levels of things like acetaminophen (Tylenol), salicylates (including aspirin), and ascorbic acid (vitamin C).
Arkray representatives tell me that its Glucocard Vital uses the same platform and technology as the company’s other blood glucose meters. But it actually uses different test strips from Arkray’s three other meters, each of which requires a different strip. The suggested retail prices of the Glucocard Vital meter is $23 and of a vial of 50 test strips is $49.99. But insurance should cover most of those costs.
Arkray is just beginning to ship its new meter and expects that it will primarily appear on shelves of home medical equipment and durable medical equipment stores as well as be available through mail order. It’s not likely to be available in retail stores and isn’t available online anywhere yet.
I did not attempt to evaluate the accuracy of this — or any other — meter. While accuracy is a big concern of mine and of most everyone who tests his or her blood glucose level, I just don’t have the resources to do such testing.
However, I did notice that Arkray’s Glucocard vital website states that it is “highly accurate.” Next to this statement is a tiny footnote, “Data on file.”
Of course, I asked for that file. Here’s the gist of what it says:
When professional clinicians used the meter on fingertips, 100 percent of the results when glucose levels were below 75 mg/dl were within the 15 mg/dl range that “diabetes experts have suggested” they should be. And 99 percent of the results when glucose levels were above 75 mg/dl were withing the 20 mg/dl range.
Here is the complete data file:
Accuracy Data File from Arkray
For those of us who have diabetes, checking our blood glucose is vital. Using a meter called the Glucocard Vital might just be an excellent way to give ourselves that reminder.
This article is based on an earlier version of my article published by HealthCentral.
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Interesting Trivia fact.. Did you know Arkray was the developer of the original Eyetone glucose meter? The meter that came out right after the original Ames Glucometer. 😉
I am an employee of ARKRAY, USA, and I’d like to answer your question regarding the EasyPro. The EasyPro Plus and Glucocard Vital meters are both made by ARKRAY, but the Vital has several improvements and upgrades. Just as David mentioned, it is auto-coded, takes a 7-second test time, is downloadable and offers support through the GLUCOCARD YouChoose patient wellness program— http://www.glucocardyouchoose.com. I hope this answers your question.
Thanks for your interest!~Ask Mary
David – can you let me know if the EasyPro Plus is the same as the GlucoCard Vital? It’s made by the same company. Everything looks the same including the strips. If so, tell everyone that you can get the EasyPro at Target for $9 and 50 strips for $20.
I don’t know and am travelling overseas right now so I can’t check.
I have been following the development of a NON-INVASIVE blood glucose monitor by a small Canadian company. I hope this is an appropriate venue to share a couple of thoughts…
I have looked into Biosign Technologies. Apparently they are a public company currently trading on a small Canadian exchange called the CNQ. Biosign has just announced a 4.5M dollar private placement, which makes me think they havn’t been ‘discovered’ by a medical giant yet.
Their product is a wrist cuff that resembles a typical blood pressure monitor. You connect it to your computer via USB or I believe by Bluetooth. The monitor takes a reading of your blood pressure and computes blood glucose using proprietary software algorithms. The measurement is completely NON INVASIVE! Clinical studies have indicated that the glucose measurements are 98% accurate to labratory invasive testing results!
Blood pressure and glucose readings are then stored on your computer and can be sent to medical professionals via email etc. It looks like Microsoft has certified Biosign as a partner of some sort which makes me think that a relationship of some sort is budding there.
Non invasive glucose monitoring is the Holy Grail of Diabetic monitoring. And it has been discovered. This paradigm shift will not occur ten years down the road. It will happen NOW. This is very exciting!!!
The potential for this product is infinite. The benefits to those suffering diabetes (as my Grandfather did) are obvious. I am not a diabetic, but would love to monitor my blood pressure and glucose levels as part of my health concious lifestyle. I can’t wait till this product becomes available as I think it would be neat to monitor my blood glucose levels throughout my work day, pre and post workouts etc…..
Here is a link to the press release outlining ISO certification for non invasive glucose monitoring: