Finger prick Blood test: How accurate are these... - Thyroid UK

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Finger prick Blood test

Chrys profile image

How accurate are these? I ask as with a full test, quite a few ml are taken. Can we expect as good a result as a full phlebotomy blood test?

17 Replies

I don't believe they are accurate as thyroid hormones are present in incredible small amounts. Beware that some of the TSH finger prick assays just specify that the result is 'normal' or not and in some cases they claim a high accuracy purely on whether this 2-way choice is correct, rather that the accuracy of the actual level of TSH. The quoted accuracies are usually based on assessment in laboratory conditions rather than real life situations.

Chrys profile image
Chrys in reply to jimh111

Thanks Jim, I suspected as much. Unfortunately the full tests are much more expensive.

Not sure what fingerprick tests you mean. I've used the blue horizon fingerprick tests and City Assays vitamin D test and although the BH thyroid ones use a different lab range to what my hospital uses I'm always at the 'same place' within the ranges so for me it's all relative and I've always felt happy that they are accurate.

It's also the only way I've ever been able to have my T3 and antibodies checked out. Blue Horzon use accredited labs and give a breakdown and doctors report on your results - I have never ever been told that any of my results were 'normal' so I will definitely continue to use them.

I was thinking if the BH tests were as good as their full tests, as only a small amount is avlbl via a finger prick.

I'd also like to see some more feedback one way or the other. I'm due to have mine redone at the end of the month and I'm looking at the Blue Horizon Thyroid 10 finger prick test.

My last test was the BH10 and I was really, really pleased with it. I filled two of their tiny tubes so you are sending off a reasonable amount of blood. The vitamin D one is done on a card think it looked a bit like blotting paper but I could be wrong it might just be on regular paper it's different from the BH system - but it is a very reliable test.

I always make sure I send off my BH one at the beginning of the week though, just to avoid it lying in a sorts office somewhere over a weekend.

in reply to Fruitandnutcase

I've also done the BH10 finger prick test but I'm not sure I could label it as "a very reliable test" as I've no other quantitative data to compare it to i.e. a standard blood draw at exactly the same time to compare measurements.

My results did, however, correlate with my improved symptoms.

I would still use the service again ,but i do wonder about sterilisation of sample and so on. Presumably the test has been designed to take certain factors into account, particularly since it's done by an accredited lab.

Fruitandnutcase profile image
Fruitandnutcase in reply to

I tended to use BH at around the same time as my hospital test, mainly because it was the only way I could get my T3 done. Their results matched the hospital ones every time, I have to say I really enjoyed going along to my appointments knowing in advance what was going on wth my blood.

I've never asked about sterilisation etc. I suppose if you follow the instructions then you will have clean hands and you will use the little wipe etc and everything else is pretty clean don't know for sure though.

I just love that I can do it independently at home, no need to make an appointment or try and find someone to draw blood, no begging for certain tests that I know I won't get and also get the results back so quickly.

in reply to Fruitandnutcase

I used the finger prick tests mainly because I was too ill (at times) to attend my local clinic. Also, I feel I get a more true reflection of my real thyroid levels rather than sitting around for 2 days doing very little just to make sure I felt OK to attend a blood test!

Edit - and by OK i mean feeling like total crap but just well enough to travel a mile and back without freaking out.

SeasideSusie profile image
SeasideSusieAdministrator in reply to Fruitandnutcase

You had to fill two tubes? I did the BH10 at the beginning of September and only had to fill one tube. Good job really as my blood was clotting in the little funnel before I had time to fill the tube!

Can't really say if it's as good as a full phlebotomy test as far as TSH, FT4 and FT3 tests are concerned as I don't have a recent one to compare, but my antibodies came back and confirmed results from previous AB tests, also the folate, B12 and ferritin showed considerable improvement consistent with introducing supplements after a previous test so I'm taking that as pretty accurate.

My comment relates to finger prick tests which use a drop or two of blood, not the ones which use a finger prick to obtain a good quantity. Sorry for any confusion. I would still prefer a sample taken by a needle as there is little chance of contamination but I appreciate this is not always possible.

Thank you ladies, you have put my mind at rest.

I have used BH finger prick and needle blood draw sample testing also Vit D by city assays. I'm quite happy that they are accurate as they compared well with NHS needle draw samples. BH have introduced comprehensive tests for Thyroid UK members that are not too expensive. I have given up on NHS testing because they only do TSH test and only do T3 if your TSH is below their range. I feel more in control of my health as I can quickly get "answers" with private tests and not be at the mercy of NHS minimalist system.

Chrys profile image
Chrys in reply to crimple

Thanks, to everyone. The consensus seems to be that the finger tests are pretty accurate, which is helpful, in that it cost less, and also is easier to arrange.

I live in the US and our state (AZ) just recently gave us consumers the go ahead to order tests on our own without doctor orders. I had the finger prick done in July but they also took a couple of tubes as I ordered a full panel for my thyroid plus other things. I believe they are accurate and the results were in correlation to what was done 4 months previously by the doctors lab. Much much cheaper. A full panel there is $49USD and even with insurance at the doctors lab TSH alone is $110USD. Any wonder why people can't afford medical help here? I plan to go back in another couple of weeks for testing for the finger prick again for thyroid panel and will be giving it to my Endo as I did previously. Just can't afford to do the doctor lab tests.

Still a lot cheaper than the UK. A finger prick test to include the following:

TSH

FT4

FT3

TT4

Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies

Thyroglobulin Antibodies

Ferritin

Folate

Vitamin B12

C Reactive Protein

Costs about $150.

Chrys

Blue Horizon charge £99 for the same tests, which is equivalent to around $150, so about the same.

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