Original Study| Volume 29, ISSUE 1, P48-52, February 2016

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Utility of the Oral Glucose Tolerance Test to Assess Glucose Abnormalities in Adolescents with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome


      Study Objective

      The aim of this study was to examine the prevalence of and risk factors for abnormal glucose metabolism in a large population of adolescents with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

      Design, Setting, Participants, Interventions, and Main Outcome Measures

      A retrospective chart review was performed of 360 patients who presented to the pediatric gynecology outpatient clinic for evaluation of PCOS between January 2004 and May 2012.


      A total of 163 patients fulfilled criteria for a diagnosis of PCOS and had adequate clinical and laboratory data. Twenty-six adolescents (16.0%) had impaired glucose tolerance and 2 patients (1.2%) met criteria for a provisional diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. All 28 subjects with abnormal glucose metabolism were identified using the 2-hour plasma glucose of the oral glucose tolerance test. Conversely, the fasting glucose values only successfully detected 2 patients with hyperglycemia, both of whom also had abnormal 2-hour glucose levels. Adolescents with abnormal glucose metabolism were more likely to have reported a positive family history (P = .02) and had higher body mass index z scores (2.8 ± 1.1 vs 1.8 ± 1.2; P < .01). When patients were classified into normal weight (n = 29) and obese/overweight groups (n = 117), all of the patients with abnormal glucose metabolism were overweight or obese.


      In the largest series to date, we describe a prevalence of abnormal glucose metabolism in adolescent patients with PCOS of 17.2%. Abnormal glucose metabolism is associated with many of the known risk factors for metabolic syndrome. Our results support that the oral glucose tolerance test is a superior diagnostic test to assess abnormal glucose levels in overweight and obese adolescents but that this test might have limited utility in normal weight adolescents with PCOS.

      Key Words

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