Update: Amira stopped selling AtLast meter; strip sales continued until April 30, 2002.
This product is no longer available. The review will remain online for historical purposes.
Amira's AtLast is a new kind of meter that uses blood obtained from parts of the body other than finger tips, such as the forearm. With fewer nerve endings in the forearm compared to finger tips, many people find the AtLast to be less painful than finger sticks. Because of the product's design, you cannot use it on finger tips -- you must use it on alternative sites.
The AtLast is a self-contained blood glucose testing system, with an integrated lancing device that uses special lancets. This frees you from having to carry a separate lancing device, but does require you to purchase special lancets. The meter fits easily into the hand of an adult and 12-year-old child. Our five-year-old was also able to use it, but he had a hard time understanding the milking process (see below).
- All-in-one meter and sampling device
- 'No More Fingersticks' sampling
- Single button operation
- Memory with 14-day average
- Test results in as little as 15 seconds
- 2 ul blood sample
- Data port
- Plasma equivalent results
In a test of Amira's AtLast meter, our adult test subject reported that the test was painless, but left small prick marks on her arm. The meter is somewhat difficult to hold in the manner described by the directions and a child with smaller hands may find it challenging. Our 12-year-old test subject felt no pain at first, but once the blood was on the test strip, indicated that her arm hurt. She also complained about the red dots left on her arm from testing.
Our five-year-old test subject also reported no pain, but we were unable to obtain sufficient blood using the standard lancet holder. AtLast comes with two lancet holders, and people who have trouble getting enough blood with the standard holder should use the second holder which allows a deeper penetration of the lancet. Unfortunately, the lancet's tip must be exposed before it is inserted into the lancet holder, which represents a safety risk for younger kids.
Blood glucose readings were slightly higher than other readings obtained simultaneously from the Precision QID, Glucometer Elite, and DEX meters, but were still within the same range.
Operating the AtLast is unlike traditional finger-stick meters. With the AtLast, the lancet resides inside the meter. You press the meter down against your skin (forearm, for example) and hold it down. The first time you do this, it triggers the lancet. You then slowly let up but don't remove the meter from your skin because it has created an air-tight seal. You then press down and up to milk the blood out of the skin where the lancet penetrated. You must do this a total of five times to get an adequate blood drop. The whole process takes about 30 seconds.
The AtLast meter requres special lancets that cost about $8.50 for 100, which is more expensive than the BD Ultra Fine II (about $11 for 200). People who test their blood sugar often will find the AtLast to be more a little more expensive to use than alternative meters, based on lancets.
The batteries in the AtLast are good for 2,500 tests, after which the meter must be replaced. Amira will replace any AtLast meter that expires (reaches 2,500 tests) within three years. (Testing four times per day yields 1,460 tests per year.) Instructions come in both English and Spanish, and a nice carrying case holds everything you need for a day's worth of tests.
SummaryThe AtLast delivers on its promise of "no more fingersticks." However, many people who test frequently get calluses which make finger-stick blood tests nearly pain-free. AtLast leaves small marks on the forearm, which our 12-year-old tester did not like. The milking process can become tiresome to those who test often, and it adds significantly to the overall testing time.
If the opportunity to test in places other than finger tips appeals to you, the AtLast should be of interest. People who find fingersticks painful will likely find that testing with the AtLast is less painful than testing with traditional finger-stick meters. However, with its relatively large size and involved operating procedure, younger children will need to help from their parents.
One final note: given the involved procedure, trying to test someone who is combative from hypoglycemia would be extremely difficult. In that case, you should treat the low first.
- Ease of use: 7 ("milking" process is difficult compared with other meters)
- Features: 4 (10 test memory, 14-day average of up to 100 tests)
- Speed of results: 5 (as little as 15 seconds, but it takes 30 seconds to get a drop)
- Suitability for use by children under ten years old: 3 (difficult to handle, "milking" process)
- Suitability for use by children over ten years old: 5 (other products are easier to use)
- Cost: 0 (about US$72 per 100, based on $36 per 50 pricing)
- Overall Rating: 24
4742 Scotts Valley Drive
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
The AtLast meter, showing its test strip (upper right) and special lancet (lower right). The test strip fits into the meter above the "AtLast" logo. Click image for a larger photo. Alternative photo.
The "milking" process is shown in these three images.
Step 1: Press down to trigger lancing.
Step 2: Bring up slowly. Repeat steps 1 and 2 four times to suck blood out of the skin (though lancing only happens the first time).
Step 3: Remove meter to reveal drop of blood. Touch tip of strip to blood to begin testing.
Last updated July 6, 2006
The reviews of products are the opinion of children with DIABETES. Each product is reviewed with a single purpose: to determine if the product is suitable for use by children with type 1 diabetes, their parents, and, to a lesser degree, adults with type 1 diabetes. There are many products aimed at adults with type 2 diabetes that are not appropriate or suitable for children or adults with type 1 diabetes.
Last Updated: Thursday July 06, 2006 20:17:08
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