Sixty four patients, age range 1-20 years, with cystic fibrosis had their tolerance to glucose assessed according to their glycosylated haemoglobin (HbA1) concentrations. Raised concentrations were found in 24 (37.5%). Oral glucose tolerance tests were performed on 21 patients with raised HbA1 and 13 patients with normal HbA1 concentrations. C peptide responses were also measured to assess islet cell function. Patients with normal HbA1 had normal glucose tolerance and C peptide response. Seven of 21 patients with raised HbA1 concentrations were glucose intolerant. The remaining 14 patients with raised HbA1 concentrations had normal glucose tolerance but a reduced C peptide response, suggesting impaired islet cell function. There were no appreciable differences in the incidence of chest infections, respiratory function, and chest x-ray scores among patients with normal HbA1 concentrations, raised HbA1 concentrations, and normal oral glucose tolerant tests, and patients who were glucose intolerant. No correlation was found between HbA1 concentration and age or Shwachman score. Measuring HbA1 concentrations periodically is useful in detecting and monitoring glucose intolerance in patients with cystic fibrosis.
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