Glycated hemoglobin and sleep apnea syndrome in children: beyond the apnea-hypopnea index

A randomized controlled trial: branched-chain amino acid levels and glucose metabolism in patients with obesity and sleep apnea

Peña-Zarza JADe la Peña MYañez ABauça JMMorell-Garcia DCaimari MBarceló AFiguerola J. Sleep Breath. 2018 Mar;22(1):205-210.


PURPOSE: Snoring and obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSA) are frequent conditions in pediatrics. Glycated hemoglobin (HbA1C) is a useful homeostatic biomarker of glycemia and may reflect alterations deriving from sleep breathing disorders. The aim of this study was to relate the severity of OSA with blood HbA1C levels in children.

METHODS: A descriptive observational study in snoring patients was performed. All patients underwent a sleep study and classified either as simple snorers (apnea-hypopnea index; AHI ≤ 1 episodies/h) or as OSA patients (AHI > 1 episodes/h). In the following morning, a blood glycemic profile (fasting glucose, insulin, HbA1C, and the HOMA index) was performed to every individual.

RESULTS: A total of 48 patients were included. HbA1C levels were shown to be increased in the moderate OSA (AHI > 5 episodes/h) group (5.05 ± 0.25 vs. 5.24 ± 0.29%; p = 0.019). Significant correlations were found between HbA1C values and AHI (r = 0.345; p = 0.016) and also with oxygen desaturation index (r = 0.40; p = 0.005). Correlations remained significant after adjusting by age and body mass index. The AHI-associated change in HbA1C was 13.4% (p = 0.011). CONCLUSIONS: In the pediatric population, HbA1C is a biomarker associated with OSA severity, and this relationship is age- and obesity-independent. The fact that this association was observed in snoring patients could help the physician in the distinction between those patients affected with OSA and those with simple snoring. Therefore, HbA1C measurement could play a major role in the diagnosis and the management of the syndrome.


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