Thursday, 28 June 2007

The Performa BG meter - Not to be trusted

You may have read my review of the Performa Meter from May 23rd.

Perhaps you read the follow up RTFM a bit later, where I wondered about the high readings I was getting from the Performa.

Here's part three: Why the Performa meter needs to be PUT AWAY and forgotten about until Roche have things sorted out! (For people in New Zealand only)

The roll-out of the new Performa meters was messy from the beginning. To start with, a country accustomed to seeing whole blood BG readings was given a meter that measures blood plasma - without warning. Only those of us who read the small print, and knew what to make of it, understood that we'd be in for a different set of readings.

It took a while for anything to happen with that, but slowly more and more people got curious about their wacky readings and the word spread. We eventually had a letter sent out to us (see here) - which should have been included in all the original packaging with the meter, if you ask me, but late is better than not at all.

Then there was the realisation that there was more to it. Many people have noticed a 'sloppiness' to the readings. If they were fairly regularly around 11% higher, as they should be for the plasma readings, that would be fine - we'd just need some mental maths and some time to get used to it. But the Performa is all over the place, and generally TOO high. You can imagine how dangerous this could be for an insulin dependent diabetic who judges their insulin doses by their readings.

There's unrest in the NZ diabetic community! People are worried - and I can't blame them. It worried me, too!

I've done some side by side tests in the last few days. Keeping both meters in the same place (to keep the same temperature), using the same drop of blood to fill both strips within seconds of each other. The results scare me - especially when my Advantage says I'm low (and I FEEL low) and the Performa says I'm ok.

Let me show you...

First, what the difference SHOULD look like.

And now, the rather larger gap between the actual readings on my two meters:

And now some figures:


% difference





















Difference states the gap (in mmol) between the two meters.
% difference is how much higher the Performa reading is compared to the Advantage reading, as a percentage. (Remember it's meant to be approx 11%)

Now let me state right here that I'm not a scientist, nor a mathematician, and these comparisons were all done in a home setting by me - someone who has two meters and experience as a diabetic. Not a professional in any way.

And then let me state: Oh my gawd! I see nothing like 11% in those figures. Two of them are over 50% higher. Yikes!

Statement #3 - no it's not normal for me to have lows like that ;)

Rumour has it that they've stopped rolling out the Performa meter while they wait for experts to come out from Roche in Switzerland. This dud-reading issue is apparently happening ONLY in NZ So it's suspected that the issue is actually in the strips, not the meter itself.

I wonder if some damage is done already? How many diabetics in New Zealand have gone for a drive, thinking that their reading is 5.5 (perfect!) when really it's 3.9 and dropping? Even without the more dangerous situations, we're having trouble in our jobs, our sleep, and our day to day life, because of something as simple as a BG meter - the thing that is meant to help us live a normal life!

And what of the people who already have their Performa meters? Are they to be warned?

While we’re waiting to find out what’s going on, please - if you live in NZ and have the Performa meter, be careful. If possible, hang on to your old meter and stick with that until the problem is sorted. Buy another one if you have to – you need to be aware of your blood sugar results, and the Performa is not about to help you make good decisions in your treatment.


UPDATE: Whadaya know! FINALLY the issue is noticed. Read what the NZSSD (New Zealand Society for the Study of Diabetes) have to say about the Performa meter.

It’s official now… Don’t pick up that meter! Get strips for whatever other meter you have on hand.

Ooh Roche, I don’t envy you, this has been one expensive experience for you… and risky. I only hope no one has seriously overdone the insulin because of a reading from that meter.

1 comment:

Jenny said...

The Performa is almost identical to the Aviva meter marketed in the U.S. I had a major nightmare with mine. Some strips were fine, other boxes even of different lots read way high.

You can read the details by searching Google Groups for "Jenny Aviva".

Nothing like having a meter reading 50 mg/dl HIGH when you are just staring insulin. I'd call with hypo symptoms and the doc would say , "What's your blood sugar?" and I'd say, "100" so they thought I was nuts.

Went to the lab, and the lab read 201 mg/dl and the Aviva 249! Called the company and they told me that was WITHIN RANGE.