Hemoglobin A1c measurement for the diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes in children

Int J Pediatr Endocrinol. 2012 Dec 20;2012(1):31. doi: 10.1186/1687-9856-2012-31.


Laboratory measurements of hemoglobin A1c above 6.5% were approved as an additional diagnostic criteria for diabetes mellitus by the American Diabetes Association in 2010. Several recent pediatric studies have cast HbA1c measurement in children in an unfavorable light in the pediatric population, by comparing HbA1c measurements to results on oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) or fasting plasma glucose (FPG). However, many of these studies do not recognize that diabetes diagnostic criteria are based upon long-term health outcomes. In this sense, OGTT and FPG have themselves never been validated in the pediatric population. Studies to validate diagnostic tests for diabetes in pediatric populations may take a substantial period of time, and may prove unfeasible. However, studies that tie diagnostic results as a child to diagnostic results as an adult may be more feasible and may provide the data needed to determine which pediatric diagnostic criteria to use. Thus, for the time being, except for cases of hemoglobinopathy, cystic fibrosis, and a few other exceptions, describing HbA1c as 'lacking in sensitivity or specificity' in the pediatric population because of lack of correlation with OGTT is not scientifically sound.