Background: Type 2 diabetes patients on chronic hemodialysis have a high prevalence of cardiovascular complications and often show a poor glycemic control. Single-spot glycemic measurements are not always meaningful, and the hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) value does not reflect short-term variations in glucose metabolism in this patient category. Therefore, to better understand their metabolic balance, we studied a group of diabetes patients on hemodialysis by a continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) system.
Methods: Twelve insulin-treated type 2 diabetes patients on hemodialysis were studied by a microdialysis-based subcutaneous glucose sensor over a period of 2 days, including the dialysis day (HD) and the following inter-dialytic period ("free" day [FD]).
Results: The mean 24-h glycemic value, the mean amplitude of glucose excursions, and the SD of mean glucose were significantly higher in the HD than the FD (186 ± 50 vs. 154 ± 25 mg/dL, P<0.05; 75 ± 22 vs. 56 ± 15 mg/dL, P<0.05; and 57 ± 6 vs. 35 ± 11 mg/dL, P<0.05, respectively). Considering the 48-h recording, there was a direct correlation between the mean glucose concentration and the HbA1c (r=0.47, P<0.05), whereas no association was observed between the measures of glucose variability and HbA1c.
Conclusions: Insulin-treated diabetes patients on hemodialysis showed different glucose profiles between the HD and the FD. In particular, in the HD they have had an increased glycemic variability, which may represent an adjunctive risk factor for cardiovascular complications. Therefore the use of a CGM system, as a means of assessing the measures of glycemic variability, could improve the management of insulin therapy in these patients.