How accurate is glycated haemoglobin in patients with liver cirrhosis? A case series (2018)

Type of publication:
Conference abstract

*Basavaraju N.; *Rangan S.; *Singh P.; *Moulik P

Diabetic Medicine; Mar 2018; vol. 35 ; S1

Introduction: Glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) is the gold standard for monitoring glycaemic control in patients with diabetes. We present three cases of chronic liver disease where HbA1c may be misleading. Case 1: A 71-year-old Caucasian woman with liver cirrhosis due to hepatitis C, Type 2 diabetes, previous bladder tuberculosis and chronic kidney disease stage 3 was evaluated in clinic. Her capillary glucose (CG) was 6 to 9 mmol/l, no hypoglycaemia. She was anaemic; HbA1c was low at 34mmol/mol. Fructosamine was elevated at 296umol/l (205 to 285). Case 2: A 38-year-old Caucasian man with alcoholic liver cirrhosis, portal hypertension, and Type 2 diabetes was admitted with haematemesis. His CG was 10 to 14 mmol/l and HbA1c 26mmol/mol. He had iron deficiency anaemia, deranged liver enzymes and renal function. Fructosamine was normal at 246umol/l. Case 3: A 65-year-old Caucasian woman with non-alcoholic steatohepatosis/cirrhosis, portal hypertension, Type 2 diabetes, iron deficiency anaemia was admitted with melena. Her CG was 12 to 14mmol/l and HbA1c 44mmol/mol. Results showed acute kidney injury, deranged liver enzymes, normal albumin but low haemoglobin. Fructosamine is awaited. All patients required insulin for management of their diabetes. Discussion: The degree of glycation (glucose binding to N-terminal valine of HbA) is dependent on glycation rate, glucose availability and lifespan of red blood cells. Reference range of HbA1c is based on normal lifespan of RBC. There are very limited studies in evaluating the accuracy of HbA1c in chronic liver disease (CLD). Multiple factors can shorten RBC survival in CLD, including anaemia, portal hypertension, hypersplenism, variceal bleeding, resulting in falsely low HbA1c. Fructosamine, glycated albumin can also be inaccurate. Capillary glucose monitoring should guide glycaemic management.

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