Use of self-collected capillary blood samples for islet autoantibody screening in relatives: a feasibility and acceptability study

the Type 1 Diabetes TrialNet Study Group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations


Aims: To evaluate the feasibility of using self-collected capillary blood samples for islet autoantibody testing to identify risk in relatives of people with Type 1 diabetes. Methods: Participants were recruited via the observational TrialNet Pathway to Prevention study, which screens and monitors relatives of people with Type 1 diabetes for islet autoantibodies. Relatives were sent kits for capillary blood collection, with written instructions, an online instructional video link and a questionnaire. Sera from capillary blood samples were tested for autoantibodies to glutamic acid decarboxylase, islet antigen-2, insulin and zinc transporter 8. ‘Successful’ sample collection was defined as obtaining sufficient volume and quality to provide definitive autoantibody results, including confirmation of positive results by repeat assay. Results: In 240 relatives who returned samples, the median (range) age was 15.5 (1–49) years and 51% were male. Of these samples, 98% were sufficient for glutamic acid decarboxylase, islet antigen-2 and zinc transporter 8 autoantibody testing and 84% for insulin autoantibody testing and complete autoantibody screen. The upper 90% confidence bound for unsuccessful collection was 4.4% for glutamic acid decarboxylase, islet antigen-2 and/or zinc transporter 8 autoantibody assays, and 19.3% for insulin autoantibodies. Despite 43% of 220 questionnaire respondents finding capillary blood collection uncomfortable or painful, 82% preferred home self-collection of capillary blood samples compared with outpatient venepuncture (90% of those aged <8 years, 83% of those aged 9–18 years and 73% of those aged >18 years). The perceived difficulty of collecting capillary blood samples did not affect success rate. Conclusions: Self-collected capillary blood sampling offers a feasible alternative to venous sampling, with the potential to facilitate autoantibody screening for Type 1 diabetes risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)934-937
Number of pages4
JournalDiabetic Medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2017


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology

Cite this