NEWS

Nova Scotia health units warn about 10,000 faulty blood tests

12/01/2014 12:25 EST | Updated 01/31/2015 05:59 EST
Some 10,000 blood tests done in the last year may have errors, two Nova Scotia health authorities said Monday.

A Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics product used earlier this year in laboratory testing has been recalled. Both the Pictou County Health Authority and the Cumberland Health Authority used the product in A1c tests, which read a patient's average blood glucose levels over the three months prior to the test.

The authorities are contacting patients and their health-care providers to discuss retesting.

A1c tests done between December 2013 and May 2014 at the Pictou County Health Authority and between January 2014 and June 2014 at the Cumberland Health Authority may have produced results that were higher than expected, officials said.

"The safety and well-being of patients is our primary focus and for that reason, we are contacting patients and their providers to ensure that any necessary followup is undertaken," Bruce Quigley, the CEO of the Cumberland Health Authority and acting CEO of the Pictou County Health Authority, said in a statement on Monday.

Normal A1c levels range from 4.5 per cent to 6.2 per cent. Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics found the affected tests may have given results higher by 0.4 per cent to one per cent.

The health authorities don't know which tests were affected, so they're contacting everyone who had the test.

Tests accurate since June

Quigley said patients face minimal risk.

"We understand that this type of positive bias may have resulted in a health-care provider being more cautious than otherwise would have been the case, not less so," he said.

If you had the A1c test done since June 1 you should not need retesting, Quigley said.

The health authorities have sent letters to patients and anyone with a question can leave a message with either the Pictou County Health Authority (902-752-7600, ext. 6220) or Cumberland Health Authority (902-667-3056).

MORE:cbcNews