Is random plasma glucose an efficient screening test for abnormal glucose tolerance in pregnancy?

Br J Obstet Gynaecol. 1988 Sep;95(9):855-60. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-0528.1988.tb06569.x.


Random plasma glucose was determined in 276 apparently healthy pregnant women attending our antenatal clinic at 28 to 32 weeks gestation. Mean and standard deviation values within 2 h and greater than 2 h after a meal were calculated. A standard 75-g oral glucose tolerance test was then given to 250 of the 276 pregnant women. Three patients were found to be diabetic and 46 had post-load concentrations indicative of impaired glucose tolerance according to the criteria of the World Health Organization (1980). Using a cut-off point whereby 15% of the population would be tested, we would have identified only 2 of the 3 diabetics and 12 of the 46 with impaired glucose tolerance. This poor predictive power cannot be resolved by altering cut-off points for screening, or by altering the criteria for abnormal glucose tolerance. The basic problem is lack of a close relation between 2-h glucose tolerance value and random glucose when this has been taken greater than 120 min after a meal. In this population with a high prevalence of abnormal glucose tolerance, random plasma glucose is not an efficient screening test.

MeSH terms

  • Blood Glucose / analysis*
  • Female
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Humans
  • Prediabetic State / blood
  • Prediabetic State / diagnosis*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Trimester, Second
  • Pregnancy in Diabetics / blood
  • Pregnancy in Diabetics / diagnosis*


  • Blood Glucose