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01.12.2017 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2017 Open Access

Journal of Diabetes & Metabolic Disorders 1/2017

HbA1c screening for new onset diabetes following acute coronary syndrome: is it a worthwhile test in clinical practice?

Journal of Diabetes & Metabolic Disorders > Ausgabe 1/2017
Sebastian T. Lugg, Christine J. H. May, Peter Nightingale, Robbie P. E. Tuffley, June Al-Hourani, Parijat De



Diabetes and pre-diabetes are prevalent in acute coronary syndrome (ACS) and relate to adverse outcomes. This study used HbA1c to screen for degrees of glucose intolerance amongst patients without known diabetes presenting with ACS.


Over a 1-year period (June 2014–2015) consecutive patients admitted to a single centre cardiology unit with an initial diagnosis of ACS without prior diabetes diagnosis were electronically referred to our diabetes team. Patients were screened for the presence of diabetes by use of an initial HbA1c blood test on day 2 or 3 post admission. If abnormal (≥42 mmol/mol; ≥6.0%), patients were invited for a repeat HbA1c at 2 weeks, and if an intermediate result (42–47 mmol/mol; 6.0–6.4%), for an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) at 3 months. Patients were diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes if the repeat HbA1c result was high (≥48 mmol/mol; ≥6.5%) or the OGTT at 3 months confirmed the diagnosis. Other data collected included baseline demographics, risk factors and any history of cardiovascular disease. All patients with ACS were stratified according to the diagnosis and subsequent management.


We screened 399 patients in total. The mean age was 65 ± 14 years, 268 (67%) were men, 290 (73%) were Caucasian, 95 (24%) were South Asian and 14 (4%) were Afro-Caribbean ethnicity. Of all patients, 57 (14.3%) were diagnosed as pre-diabetes and 43 (10.8%) newly diagnosed diabetes. During the study 28 (7%) patients could not be classified; 6 (1.5%) patients died during the study and 22 (5.5%) patients were missing either initial or repeat HbA1c and were subsequently lost to follow up. Of the baseline variables assessed, there were significantly more patients of South Asian ethnicity in the diabetes group compared to the normal group (42 vs 20%; p = 0.003). There was no difference in detection rates in patients with more severe ACS requiring percutaneous or cardiac surgical intervention.


The use of a simple HbA1c screening method in clinical practice can detect new onset diabetes in approximately 1 in 10 high-risk post ACS patients.
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