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Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2001 Feb;184(3):470-5.

Effect of fetal hyperinsulinism on oral glucose tolerance test results in patients with gestational diabetes mellitus.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Graz, Austria.



This study was undertaken to evaluate the impact of the fetoplacental glucose steal phenomenon on the results of oral glucose tolerance testing in pregnancies complicated by gestational diabetes mellitus with fetal hyperinsulinism.


This was an analysis of the cases of 34 patients with two consecutive abnormal oral glucose tolerance test results and amniotic fluid insulin measurement before institution of insulin therapy. Patients were divided into groups on the basis of normal versus elevated amniotic fluid insulin concentrations.


Oral glucose tolerance tests were done at a mean (+/-SD) of 24.9 +/- 5.7 and 30.7 +/- 3.2 weeks' gestation, and amniotic fluid insulin measurements were done at 31.1 +/- 3.2 weeks' gestation. In 13 women with gestational diabetes mellitus with normal amniotic fluid insulin concentration, maternal postload blood glucose levels at 1 hour increased by 12 mg/dL (168 vs 180 mg/dL; 9.3 vs 10.0 mmol/L; P = .0006) during the course of 6 weeks. In contrast, in 21 women with gestational diabetes mellitus with elevated amniotic fluid insulin levels (>7 microU/mL; >42 pmol/L), 1-hour postload blood glucose levels decreased by 22 mg/dL (201 vs 179 mg/dL; 11.2 vs 9.9 mmol/L; P = .002) during the same period. The higher the amniotic fluid insulin level, the larger the decrease (R = 0.504; P =.02). Although low amniotic fluid insulin levels were correlated significantly with 1-hour glucose levels of the first and second oral glucose tolerance tests, high insulin levels were no longer correlated with the second oral glucose tolerance test.


Exaggerated fetal glucose siphoning may provide misleading oral glucose tolerance test results in pregnancies complicated by fetal hyperinsulinism by blunting maternal postload glucose peaks. Consequently, oral glucose tolerance test results in a pregnancy complicated by gestational diabetes mellitus with a fetus that already has hyperinsulinemia may erroneously be considered normal.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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