Glucose Tolerance Test Outpatient Guidelines

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Glucose (GLUE cose) is a type of sugar. If your child has signs of diabetes or hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), a glucose tolerance test is done. This test shows how well the body uses sugar.

How to Prepare for the Test

  • The test must be scheduled with the laboratory. For information about which Nationwide Children’s Laboratory Service Centers offer the test, please call Laboratory Services at (800) 934-6575.

  • Make sure your child has a well-balanced diet for 3 days before the test.
  • Your child should have nothing to drink or eat (including gum, mints, or candy) for 8 hours before the test. However, it is all right to have water to drink if the child gets thirsty.
  • Bring a favorite book, game, or toy from home to occupy your child during the test.

How the Test is Done

  1. Let the technician know how long your child was fasting (the last time the child ate or drank).
  2. A technician will prick your child’s finger, or draw a sample from an arm vein to get a baseline blood sample.
  3. A technician will weigh your child to find out how much of the sweet-tasting solution to give.
  4. A technician will then have your child drink the sweet lemon-lime, orange, or fruit punch flavor solution. The solution needs to be finished within 5 minutes. Depending upon the doctor’s request, blood samples will be collected several times during the test by finger prick or from the vein. The technician can tell you how many blood samples will be taken and at what times.
  5. Your child may not have anything else to eat or drink after the flavored solution is given, until the test is over.
  6. If your child cannot swallow all of the flavored solution, or if he or she vomits, the test will have to be done on another day.
  7. Your child may be hungry and cranky during the test. It will help if you plan quiet play to keep your child’s mind busy until he or she can eat.

If your child is having an insulin level test also, you will be sent to the Infusion Clinic at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. A nurse will put an IV in the child’s vein during the test. Then blood samples for glucose and insulin levels will be taken from the IV.

If you have any questions, please ask your child’s doctor or nurse.

For directions to the nearest Laboratory Service Center, please call Laboratory Services at (800) 934-6575 or visit

Glucose Tolerance Test Outpatient Guidelines (PDF)

III-7 4/76, Revised 1/19 Copyright 1976 Nationwide Children’s Hospital