Long-term glycemic control measurements in diabetic patients receiving hemodialysis

Melanie S. Joy, William T. Cefalu, Susan L. Hogan, Patrick H. Nachman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

133 Scopus citations


Cardiovascular morbidity is increased in patients with diabetes mellitus and there is a great prevalence of diabetes and cardiovascular disease among patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD). Control of glycemia can decrease cardiovascular and end-organ damage. Because the validity of glycemic control tests have not been rigorously studied in patients with ESRD, we evaluated the value of various measures in these patients. The overall clinical goal was to investigate whether hemoglobin A1C (A1C) accurately reflects actual glycemic control as compared with other measures in light of the importance of attaining appropriately controlled blood glucose (BG). The commonly used tests of total glycated hemoglobin (GHb) and A1C may be unreliable in patients with ESRD because of the presence of anemia, shortened red blood cell (RBC) survival, and assay interferences from uremia. The primary aim of this study was to assess the relationship of capillary BG measurements to A1C, GHb, total glycated plasma proteins (GPP), and fructosamine (Fr) in diabetic patients receiving hemodialysis. Twenty-three patients were instructed to obtain BG evaluations twice daily for 7 days by using the Elite glucometer (Bayer Corporation, Elkhart, IN). These determinations included 6 fasting, 6 preprandial, and 3 separate 2-hour postprandial levels. Blood was obtained on day 7 for measurement of A1C, GHb, GPP, and Fr. A1C was analyzed by an immunoassay, GPP and GHb were assayed by affinity high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), and Fr by automated nitroblue colorimetric assay. Scatter plots were generated by plotting the average BG versus A1C, GHb, GPP, or Fr. Linear regression was performed for each plot showing the following relationships: A1C = 0.0174 (BG) + 4.76 (r = 0.58; P < 0.05): GHb = 0.0371 (BG) + 3.57 (r = 0.584; P < 0.05): GPP = 0.0083 (BG) + 26.13 (r = 0.065; P = 0.77): Fr = 0.6865 (BG) + 250 (r = 0.345; P = 0.11). Despite anemia and shortened RBC lifespan in patients with ESRD, A1C in the range of 6% to 7% estimates glycemic control similarly to patients without severe renal impairment. A1C values above 7.5% may overestimate hyperglycemia in patients with ESRD. Thus, diabetic patients receiving hemodialysis may have long-term BG that are more properly controlled than previously determined, reducing their risks of the macro- and microvascular complications of diabetes mellitus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)297-307
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Kidney Diseases
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Supported in part by a grant from the North Carolina National Kidney Foundation.


  • Diabetes
  • Glycemic control
  • Hemodialysis (HD)
  • Hemoglobin AC


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