High haemoglobin A1c level is a possible risk factor for ventricular fibrillation in sudden cardiac arrest among non-diabetic individuals in the general population

Laura H. Van Dongen, Marieke T. Blom, Abdenasser Bardai, Paulien C.M. Homma, Joline W.J. Beulens, Amber A. Van Der Heijden, Petra Elders, Hanno L. Tan

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5 Citations (Scopus)


Aims: This study aimed to establish whether higher levels of glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) are associated with increased sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) risk in non-diabetic individuals. Methods and results: Case-control study in non-diabetic individuals (HbA1c < 6.5%) in the Netherlands. Cases were SCA patients with electrocardiogram (ECG)-documented ventricular fibrillation (VF, the predominant cause of SCA) and HbA1c measurements immediately after VF, prospectively included in September 2009-December 2012. Controls (up to 10 per case) were age/sex-matched non-SCA individuals, included in July 2006-November 2007. We studied 306 cases (56.4 ± 6.8 years, 79.1% male) and 1722 controls (54.0 ± 6.8 years, 64.8% male). HbA1c levels were higher in cases than in controls (5.8 ± 0.3% vs. 5.4 ± 0.3%, P < 0.001). The proportion of increased HbA1c (≥5.7%) was 63.1% in cases and 19.3% in controls (P < 0.001). Multivariate regression models indicated that increased HbA1c was associated with a > six-fold increased VF risk [adjusted odds ratio (ORadj) 6.74 (5.00-9.09)] and that 0.1% increase in HbA1c level was associated with 1.4-fold increase in VF risk, independent of concomitant cardiovascular risk factors. Increased VF risk at higher HbA1c is associated with acute myocardial infarction (MI) as cause of VF [OR 1.14 (1.04-1.24)], but the association between HbA1c and VF was similar in non-MI patients [OR 1.32 (1.21-1.44)] and MI patients [OR 1.47 (1.37-1.58)]. Conclusion: Among non-diabetic individuals, risk of VF increased with rising HbA1c levels, independent of concomitant cardiovascular disease. Future studies should establish whether HbA1c level may be used as biomarker to recognize individuals at risk for VF.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)394-400
Number of pages7
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020


  • Haemoglobin A1c
  • Prediabetes
  • Prevention
  • Sudden cardiac arrest
  • Ventricular fibrillation

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