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April 23, 2000

Blood Tests and Insulin Injections

Question from Buffalo Grove, Ilinois, USA:

Has anyone tried the new AtLast monitor by Amira? It uses blood from the forearm and thigh. My daughter has had diabetes for 4 years (she is now 6) and her finger tips are quite calloused. This new monitor seems like a good idea.


From: DTeam Staff

The AtLast meter really does work. Amira Medical introduced it in late 1999, and I got one of the first ones. You use it to test on the forearm, upper arm, or thigh, which are all places where your body has very few nerve endings. It uses a very small drop of blood. In my experience, it is totally painless.

The AtLast meter does work a little differently from other meters. You have to pump it a few times in order to get any blood out of those sites. You pump it rather than squeeze as you do with your finger. With a little experience I have learned how, and if I can learn it, I’m sure anyone can!

As I wrote in my article for Diabetes Wellness Letter, “Lori in Meadville, Pennsylvania, wrote on a mailing list that she had just received her AtLast meter. ‘It was fun!’ she wrote. ‘It didn’t hurt me at all, and as far as blood, only a tiny bit comes out, and it’s all you need.'”

Later Lori was still enthusiastic about the AtLast meter, but thought it had two drawbacks. The first is that the meter doesn’t yet have software to download test results.

“The only other drawback is that sometimes I don’t get enough blood out of my arm,” Lori told us. She had missed one sentence in the user’ s manual that recommended switching to the other lancet holder that Amira provides with the meter if you have difficulty getting enough blood.”

That seems to be the biggest challenge that some users have had with the AtLast. “People should try using both lancet holders to see what works best for them,” Amira’s Bill Feagin says.

The company that makes this meter, Amira Medical, has a Web site that you might want to check out. The URL is www.amiramed.com.

Additional comments from Lois Schmidt Finney, diabetes dietitian:

I tried it and several of my co-workers tried it and we did not like it. It took a long time to get enough blood and in several instances there never was enough blood. Several folks also came away with hematomas which disappeared the next day, but looked like marks of abuse. So we are not recommending it, except if someone wants to try it several times and see if they can get enough blood, etc.


[Editor’s comment: It’s interesting to see the various responses: Just goes to show that there are needs for different meters for different folks.