Student Paramedic Skills (Hemo Glucose Test)

The procedure of testing a blood glucose reading or hemo glucose test (HGT) is essential for many patients in the pre-hospital setting. Typical patients might include patients with a reduced level of consciousness, suspected head injury or a medical history of suspected or diagnosed diabetes.  A HGT is considered a safe, effective and minimally invasive procedure.  Detecting blood glucose anomalies allows clinicians the ability to provide early and condition-specific treatment.

In some text or speaking with health care professionals you may hear the term BM when referring to the HGT.   
BM stands for Boehringer Mannheim, now part of Roche, who produce test strips called 'BM-test' for use in a meter, as a consequence, this brand name has become synonymous with the generic product to many health care professionals around the world.

Modern self-monitoring blood glucose monitors, glucose meters (or glucometers), like the ones used by ambulance clinicians use an enzyme reaction to generate a current, which is measured by the meter.  A higher concentration of glucose in the sample will generate a stronger current and display a high number on the display. The procedure of obtaining a HGT involves a small drop of blood, obtained by pricking the skin with a lancet, is placed on a disposable test strip that the meter reads and uses to calculate the blood glucose level. The meter then displays the level in units of mg/dl or mmol/l.

How to take a HGT on a patient

  1. Wash and dry the patients hands - using warm water may help the blood flow, you can also use water wipes as listed on Paramedic Supplies.

  2. Turn on the meter and prepare a test strip as outlined in the owner's booklet.

  3. Choose your spot, mostly on the patients finger - don't check from the same finger all the time.

  4. Follow the manufacturer's instructions to prepare the lancing device (finger prick) and get a drop of blood from the side of the patients fingertip or other approved site.

  5. Check the blood sugar by touching and holding the test strip opening to the drop until it has absorbed enough blood to begin the test.

  6. View the test result.

  7. Discard the used lancet properly in a appropriate sharps container.

  8. Record the results on the clinical record and act according to the result if required. 

NICE recommended target blood glucose level range

Target Levels by Type

Before meals (pre prandial)

2 hours after meals (post prandial)


4.0 to 5.9 mmol/L

under 7.8 mmol/L

Type 2 diabetes (Non Insulin)

4 to 7 mmol/L

under 8.5 mmol/L

Type 1 diabetes (Insulin)

4 to 7 mmol/L

under 9 mmol/L

Children w/ type 1 diabetes

4 to 8 mmol/L

under 10 mmol/L

External Links

Related Products

- UK Diabetes Pocket Cards For Paramedics
Hemo Glucose Test (HGT) equipment and supplies

Disclaimer: The information in this document has been taken from various sources and includes knowledge from registered paramedics, it does not replace formal training. The skills mentioned in this article may be taught and assessed differently as they are described here and should not be used in practice unless correct methods have been taught, assessed and the clinician or student is working within their scope of practice. The details in this article could be subject to change at any time without prior notice.  Any feedback is always welcome Contact Us