Glycated hemoglobin screening identifies patients admitted for retreatment of tuberculosis at risk for diabetes in Tanzania
Introduction: World Health Organization recommendations of bidirectional screening for tuberculosis (TB) and diabetes have been met with varying levels of uptake by national TB programs in resource-limited settings.
Methodology: Kibong’oto Infectious Diseases Hospital (KIDH) is a referral hospital for TB from northern Tanzania, and the national referral hospital for multidrug-resistant (MDR)-TB. Glycated hemoglobin (HgbA1c) testing was done on patients admitted to KIDH for newly diagnosed TB, retreatment TB, and MDR-TB, to determine the point prevalence of diabetes (HgbA1c ≥ 6.5%) and prediabetes (HgbA1c 5.7%–6.4%).
Results: Of 148 patients hospitalized at KIDH over a single week, 59 (38%) had no prior TB treatment, 22 (15%) were retreatment cases, and 69 (47%) had MDR-TB. Only 3 (2%) had a known history of diabetes. A total of 144 (97%) had successful screening, of which 110 (77%) had an HgbA1c ≤ 5.6%, 28 (19%) had ≥ 5.7 < 6.5, and 6 (4%) had ≥ 6.5. Comparing subjects with prediabetes or diabetes to those with normal A1c levels, retreatment patients were significantly more likely to have a A1c ≥ 5.7% (odds ratio: 3.2, 95% CI: 1.2–9.0; p = 0.02) compared to those without prior TB treatment. No retreatment case was a known diabetic, thus the number needed to screen to diagnose one new case of diabetes among retreatment cases was 11.
Conclusions: Diabetes prevalence by HgbA1c was less common than expected, but higher HgA1c values were significantly more frequent among retreatment cases, allowing for a rational, resource-conscious screening approach.
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