For last week’s practice question, we quizzed test takers on basal, bolus and blood transfusions. 62% of respondents chose the best answer. We want to clarify and share this important information, so you can pass it on to people living with diabetes and your colleagues, plus prepare for exam success!
Before we start though, if you don’t want any spoilers and haven’t tried the question yet, you can answer it below: Answer Question
JZ is excited about their A1c of 5.4%. They take bolus insulin 4 times a day, plus basal insulin at night. To treat their leukemia, JZ receives blood transfusions weekly.
What is your biggest concern?
Answer 1 is incorrect. 12.71% chose this answer, “Is JZ experiencing lipohypertrophy?” This answer is tempting, but it is not accurate. Lipohypertrophy is a build up of fat at the injection site, often leading to hyperglycemia (not hypoglycemia) since much of the injected insulin is not being absorbed.
Answer 2 is incorrect. 19.91% of you chose this answer, “Why is JZ on multiple daily doses?” Another tempting answer, but is doesn’t address the reason behind the very low A1C. Certainly, we would want to investigate their regimen safety, but this doesn’t get to the intent of the question.
Answer 3 is incorrect. 5.33.% of respondents chose this answer, “Is JZ adjusting insulin for exercise?” Exercise can cause low blood sugar, but does it explain this A1C of 5.4%. JZ is getting blood transfusions to treat leukemia, can that be affecting their A1C?
Finally, Answer 4 is correct. 62.04% chose this answer, “What is JZ’s fructosamine level?” YES, GREAT JOB. For people receiving blood transfusions, A1C is not an accurate indicator of glucose levels, since they get infusions of non glycosylated red blood cells. This means they have new red blood cells mixing with their own glycosylated blood cells which can result in false lows A1C readings. For this situation, a better measurement is the fructosamine level, which measures the sugar coating of protein in the blood for the past 2-3 weeks. Fructosamine accuracy is not impacted by blood transfusions.
Thank you so much for reading this “Rationale of the Week”. You can download our Medication PocketCard below, for more information.
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