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Variation in haemoglobin measurement across different HemoCue devices and device operators in rural Cambodia
  1. Aviva I Rappaport1,
  2. Susan I Barr1,
  3. Timothy J Green2,
  4. Crystal D Karakochuk1,3
  1. 1Department of Food, Nutrition and Health, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  2. 2South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
  3. 3BC Children's Hospital Research Institute, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr Crystal Karakochuk, 216-2205 East Mall, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V6T 1Z4; crystal.karakochuk{at}


Point-of-use haemoglobinometers, such as the HemoCue, are a common method to measure haemoglobin (Hb) concentration in field settings as the device is portable, requires only a small finger-prick capillary blood sample and computes an immediate Hb reading. The aim of this study was to compare Hb measurements across different HemoCue devices and across device operators using capillary blood samples collected from women during a trial in rural Cambodia. We compared mean±SD capillary Hb concentration (g/L) across n=12 different HemoCue Hb 301 devices and across n=9 device operators among 2846 Cambodian women. Significant variability in mean Hb concentration was observed across HemoCue devices (means ranged from 117 to 124 g/L) and across device operators (means ranged from 118 to 124 g/L). This variability is of particular concern when a single HemoCue device or device operator is used at different time points in surveys or research trials.

Trial registration number NCT02481375

  • diagnostic screening

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  • Handling editor Mary Frances McMullin

  • Contributors CDK drafted the research protocol. CDK oversaw data collection in the field. AIR and CDK conducted statistical analyses. AIR and CDK drafted the manuscript. All authors contributed to the data interpretation and manuscript preparation. AIR and CDK had responsibility for the final content. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

  • Funding Funding was provided by the International Development Research Centre, through the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development, Canada.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Ethics approval University of British Columbia Clinical Research Ethics Board in Canada and the National Ethics Committee for Health Research in Cambodia.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.