A New Zealand Linkage Study Examining the Associations Between A1C Concentration and Mortality

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To examine associations between A1C concentration and mortality in a New Zealand population.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS

During a Hepatitis Foundation screening campaign for hepatitis B (1999–2001), participants were offered A1C testing. The participants were anonymously linked to the national mortality collection to 31 December 2004. Hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% CIs adjusted for age, ethnicity, smoking, and sex were estimated using Cox regression.

RESULTS

There were 47,904 participants (71% Mâori, 12% Pacific, 5% Asian, and 12% other). A1C measurements were categorized as <4.0% (n = 142), 4.0 to <5.0% (reference category; n = 12,867), 5.0 to <6.0% (n = 30,222), 6.0 to <7.0% (n = 2,669), and ≥7.0% (n = 1,596); there were also 408 participants with a previous diabetes diagnosis. During the follow-up period, 815 individuals died. In those without a prior diabetes diagnosis, there were steadily increasing HRs from the A1C reference category to the highest category (≥7.0%; HR 2.36 [95% CI 1.72–3.25]). As well as all-cause mortality, A1C was associated with mortality from diseases of the circulatory system; endocrine, nutritional, metabolic, and immunity disorders; and other and unknown causes. Mortality was also elevated in those with a prior diabetes diagnosis (5.19 [3.67–7.35]), but this was only partially explained by their elevated A1C levels.

CONCLUSIONS

This is the largest study to date of A1C levels and subsequent mortality risk. It confirms previous findings that A1C levels are strongly associated with subsequent mortality in both men and women without a prior diabetes diagnosis.

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