The measurement of glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) is central to diabetes care. This is a measure by which healthcare providers can relate blood glucose control to the risk of complications, such as eye damage or kidney failure. However, a lack of standardization in the methods used to measure glycated haemoglobin has produced wide variations among results and is among the current limitations to the effective use of HbA1c results in gauging a person's risk of these complications.
In response to the need for a more universally applicable method for measuring and reporting glycated haemoglobin, a working group was established in 2004 with a mandate to harmonize glycated haemoglobin reporting. The group, known as the ADA/EASD/IDF Working Group on HbA1c, included members from the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), the American Diabetes Association (ADA), the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD), and representatives from the US National Glycohemoglobin Standardization Program (NGSP) and the International Federation of Clinical Chemists (IFCC). The mandate of the Working Group was to review the opportunities arising from the development of a new IFCC reference method for the measurement of glycated haemoglobin, and make recommendations on its implementation.
Following the establishment of the Working Group, the partners set up a global study - the International A1c-AG Study - to determine as accurately as possible the relationship between HbA1c and average blood glucose levels. The final results will be published in early 2008. The Working Group also published a Consensus statement on the worldwide standardisation of the HbA1c measurement in August 2007.
- Consensus statement on the worldwide standardization of the HbA1c measurement (pdf).
- HbA1c results in relation to familiar every-day measurements - the near future (pdf), article published in Diabetes Voice, Vol 54 Issue 1 March 2009.
- 'Global standardization of the HbA1c Assay - the consensus committee recommendations', article published in Diabetes Voice, Vol 42 Issue 4 December 2007.
- 'The standardization of glycated haemoglobin: is it desirable?', article published in Diabetes Voice, Vol 50 Issue 2 June 2005.