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Diabetes mellitus in HIV-infected patients: Fasting glucose, A1c, or oral glucose tolerance test - which method to choose for the diagnosis?

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Background: Antiretroviral therapy dramatically reduced HIV-related morbidity and mortality, prolonging the lifespan of HIV-infected patients. Greater duration of infection and exposure to antiretroviral therapy makes these patients susceptible to traditional cardio-metabolic risk factors and pathologies. The optimal diagnostic protocol for Diabetes Mellitus in these patients is still controversial. Haemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) has been shown to underestimate glycaemia levels and the oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) has been shown to reveal cases of glucose metabolism disturbances in patients with normal fasting glucose. Thus, this study aimed to determine the prevalence of prediabetes and diabetes in a population of HIV-infected patients undergoing combined antiretroviral therapy, using three different diagnostic methods (fasting glucose, OGTT and HbA1c), to determine the agreement between the different methods and the characteristics associated with each one. Methods: This study analyzed 220 HIV-infected patients on antiretroviral therapy. Patient characteristics were collected using a standardized protocol. Disturbances of glucose homeostasis were defined by the ADA 2017 criteria. Patients were characterized according to the presence or absence of clinical lipodystrophy, and distributed into four different categories, according to the presence, or absence of either clinical lipoatrophy, or abdominal prominence. Insulin resistance was assessed by HOMA-IR and QUICKI indexes. Agreement between the diagnostic methods was assessed by Cohen's kappa coefficient. Results: There were no patients diagnosed with diabetes with HbA1c. 5.9% prevalence was obtained when OGTT was used, and 3.2% prevalence when fasting glucose was used. Prediabetes had a prevalence of 14.1% when using HbA1c, 24.1% when using OGTT, and 20% when using fasting glucose. In all three methods, glucose homeostasis disturbances were associated with older age and higher resistance to insulin. Regarding other characteristics, associations varied between the three methods. The agreement between them was fair, or slight. Conclusions: We observed that HbA1c was the method that diagnosed the least amount of cases and that OGTT was the one that diagnosed the most cases. Accordingly, our results indicate that HbA1c underestimated glycaemia levels in this population and that the use of OGTT might allow an earlier diagnosis of glucose homeostasis disturbances, potentially making it possible to avoid severe complications of DM.




Coelho, A. R., Moreira, F. A., Santos, A. C., Silva-Pinto, A., Sarmento, A., Carvalho, D., & Freitas, P. (2018). Diabetes mellitus in HIV-infected patients: Fasting glucose, A1c, or oral glucose tolerance test - which method to choose for the diagnosis? BMC Infectious Diseases, 18(1).

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