Real-world gestational diabetes screening: problems with the oral glucose tolerance test in rural and remote Australia

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Gestational diabetes (GDM) is the commonest antenatal complication in Australia. All pregnant women are recommended for screening by 75 g Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT). As part of a study to improve screening, 694 women from 27 regional, rural and remote clinics were recruited from 2015-2018 into the ORCHID study. Most routine OGTT samples were analysed more than four hours post fasting collection (median 5.0 h, range 2.3 to 124 h), potentially reducing glucose levels due to glycolysis. In 2019, to assess pre-analytical plasma glucose instability over time, we evaluated alternate sample handling protocols in a sample of participants. Four extra samples were collected alongside routine room-temperature (RT) fluoride-oxalate samples (FLOXRT): study FLOXRT; ice slurry (FLOXICE); RT fluoride-citrate-EDTA (FC Mix), and RT lithium heparin plasma separation tubes (PST). Time course glucose measurements were then used to estimate glycolysis from ORCHID participants who completed routine OGTT after 24 weeks gestation (n = 501). Adjusting for glycolysis using FLOXICE measurements estimated 62% underdiagnosis of GDM (FLOXRT 10.8% v FLOXICE 28.5% (95% CI, 20.8-29.5%), P < 0.001). FC Mix tubes provided excellent glucose stability but gave slightly higher results (Fasting PG: +0.20 ± 0.05 mmol/L). While providing a realistic alternative to the impractical FLOXICE protocol, direct substitution of FC Mix tubes in clinical practice may require revision of GDM diagnostic thresholds
Original languageEnglish
Article number4488
Pages (from-to)4488
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2019


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