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PLoS One


© 2019 Mitchell et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Objective We aimed to investigate which clinical and metabolic tests offer optimal accuracy and acceptability to help diagnose diabetes among a large sample of people with serious mental illness in receipt of antipsychotic medication. Methods A prospective observational study design of biochemical and clinical factors was used. Biochemical measures were fasting glucose, insulin and lipids, oral glucose tolerance testing (OGTT), hemoglobin A1c, and insulin resistance assessed with the homeostatic model (HOMA-IR) were determined in a consecutive cohort of 798 adult psychiatric inpatients receiving antipsychotics. Clinical variables were gender, age, global assessment of functioning (GAF), mental health clinicians' global impression (CGI), duration of severe mental illness, height, weight, BMI and waist/hip ratio. In addition, we calculated the risk using combined clinical predictors using the Leicester Practice Risk Score (LPRS) and the Topics Diabetes Risk Score (TDRS). Diabetes was defined by older criteria (impaired fasting glucose (IFG) or OGTT) as well as2010 criteria (IFG or OGTT or Glycated haemoglobin (HBA1c)) at conventional cut-offs. Results Using the older criteria, 7.8% had diabetes (men: 6.3%; women: 10.3%). Using the new criteria, 10.2% had diabetes (men: 8.2%, women: 13.2%), representing a 30.7% increase (p = 0.02) in the prevalence of diabetes. Regarding biochemical predictors, conventional OGTT, IFG, and HbA1c thresholds used to identify newly defined diabetes missed 25%, 50% and 75% of people with diabetes, respectively. The conventional HBA1c cut-point of ≥6.5% (48 mmol/mol) missed 7 of 10 newly defined cases of diabetes while a cut-point of ≥5.7% improved sensitivity from 44.4% to up to 85%. Specific algorithm approaches offered reasonable accuracy. Unfortunately no single clinical factor was able to accurately rule-in a diagnosis of diabetes. Three clinical factors were able to rule-out diabetes with good accuracy namely: BMI, waist/hip ratio and height. A BMI < 30 had a 92% negative predictive value in ruling-out diabetes. Of those not diabetic, 20% had a BMI ≥ 30. However, for complete diagnosis a specific biochemical protocol is still necessary. Conclusions Patients with SMI maintained on antipsychotic medication cannot be reliably screened for diabetes using clinical variables alone. Accurate assessment requires a two-step algorithm consisting of HBA1c ≥5.7% followed by both FG and OGTT which does not require all patients to have OGTT and FG.

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School of Medicine

Primary Department

General Internal Medicine

Additional Departments

Molecular Medicine; Psychiatry