Avoiding error 5 on Coaguchek XS - Hughes Syndrome -...

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Avoiding error 5 on Coaguchek XS



I''ve been self testing my INR for about a month. I borrowed the machine from the Hughes Foundation and got my strips on prescription. I've managed some successful finger prick tests but 2 out of 3 have shown an error 5 and I'm rapidly running out of strips. It's either not a big enough drop of blood or I'm not applying it to the strip properly or something else? I followed the DVD on using the Coaguchek XS but I'm still wasting loads of strips and I'm concerned my GP won't prescribe me any more right now. These were meant to last at least 6 months. Has anybody got any tips on avoiding error 5? I would be very grateful as I really appreciate the benefits of self testing. Thank you.

12 Replies

I am sure somebody on here who is using or who has used this system will reply, I have not, having only previously been on Fragmin. All the best. MaryF

smibenj in reply to MaryF

Thanks for all you do. The replies have been very helpful.

I have been self testing for a couple of months now, I got error 5 a lot at first (probably as with you - 2 out of 3 fails) but I am getting better now. It is definitely down to not enough blood, I was advised to get a "ladybird sized" drop before applying it, often I struggle to get that within the 15secs after lancing - but if you go to the strip with too small a drop, error 5 is inevitable.

Also, you can get error 5 if you take your finger away too soon - when it beeps it is _not_ finished taking blood in, I was advised to wait for the "QC" to appear before removing finger. Then you need to remove finger carefully and cleanly otherwise you get error 6 for disturbing the test strip (if that comes after several error 5s you need to remind yourself strongly that the machine won't bounce...).

A couple of things I have found that help: flexing the finger after lancing, not using fingers you have a ring on, and practice, a lot.

It is worth noting that you can practice the lancing and getting blood bit _without_ test strips or machine involved, it may seem a bit of a waste but at the end of the day lancets are a lot cheaper than test strips. Also, the 180sec countdown on the machine is actually more than long enough to have two or more goes at the lancing, as long as you don't panic, so if the first blood drop doesn't cooperate, better to try again (different finger or different side) rather than waste a test strip on an inadequate drop.

I still don't get it right all the time, but I do go through fewer test strips than I used to, and the expense is worth it (especially if trying to work) to not be tied to weekly visits to a clinic that only runs in office hours, and to know your INR with whatever frequency you want.

Mancoca in reply to Ray46


Thank you for the detailed reply you left a few months ago on what an error 5 home test reading meant & what adjustments to make.

I struggled with my first home test this morning and your info. was key. It took me from panic mode of what's going on to success.

Thanks Again,

Karin aka Mancoca

Spyde in reply to Ray46

Ray46, thank you for your post. I just wasted 4 strips with error 5 and after reading your post, I got it right away. For me, it was putting the blood on the edge of the strip, letting it flow into the strip and holding until QC came up. I was originally told to smear it up into the strip, which seems to be unreliable. Thanks again.

I had the same problem initially when I started self testing in June.

I've now found that there's plenty of time to change the lancet and try again on a different finger before the machine times out if you know the drop of blood isn't large enough. At first I was squeezing my finger and always got the error. You may need to adjust the pen to a deeper depth (I use number 4) as this will give you a bigger drop of blood to begin with.

Finally let the strip draw the blood up from the side - I find this method is much easier!

I still get the occasional error but I'm much better at it now!

Good luck.


Hi, yes the blood has to go into the strip from the side not the top. It kind of draws the blood in from the side. It does take a bit of practice but like someone else says u do have a bit of time to re prick ur finger before the time runs out.

I get error 5 if the blood is too thick and or I can not get it out on the strip fast enough. I test every second day so my 4 fingers are a bit "worn out". Hope you understand.

You know that you can put the blood from the side of the strip also and it will "draw" the blood out.

If you wait long enough you will have error 5 also. Is it 2 minutes? What is your therapeutic level?

Best wishes from Kerstin in Stockholm

Try larger size lancet, ask at the lab they can explain where to get a larger lancet. Good luck. I find if I get everything set up... by putting the machine with the area where strip goes nearest the edge and putting the strip in. I then prick on the side of my finger's fatpad, I can still squeeze my finger downward to get a ladybug size drop on its side and place my finger to the side of the strip allowing it to be sucked onto the strip easily. Also try u-tube they may have a better video. 😉

Make sure your finger is warm enough........ I often have a bath/shower before I test to get my blood flowing, or wash/soak hand in hot water. Or do exercise. If your hand is cold it is hard to get blood..

Lure2 in reply to london-lass

A very good remark!

Perhaps the most important thing. Cold fingers are no good,

Kerstin in Stockholm

I got error 5 loads at first too. Very important to get the blood sucked in from the side, it's very hard to do correctly from above. If you get two errors, give it a break then try again later. Keeping on trying just seems to generate error after error!

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