Homeostatic Model Assessment for Insulin Resistance (HOMA-IR): A Better Marker for Evaluating Insulin Resistance Than Fasting Insulin in Women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

Document Type



Pathology and Laboratory Medicine


Objective: To assess the utility of HOMA-IR in assessing insulin resistance in patients with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and compare it with fasting insulin for assessing insulin resistance (IR).STUDY Design: Observational study.PLACE AND DURATION OF STUDY: Section of Clinical Chemistry, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, The Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi, from January 2009 to September 2012.METHODOLOGY: Medical chart review of all women diagnosed with PCOS was performed. Of the 400 PCOS women reviewed, 91 met the inclusion criteria. Insulin resistance was assessed by calculating HOMA-IR using the formula (fasting glucose x fasting insulin)/405, taking normal value <2 in adults and hyperinsulinemia based on fasting insulin levels ≥12 IU/ml.Results: A total of 91 premenopausal women diagnosed with PCOS were included. Mean age was 30 ±5.5 years. Mean HOMA-IR of women was 3.1 ±1.7, respectively with IR in 69% (n=63) women, while hyperinsulinemia was present in 60% (n=55) women (fasting Insulin 18.5 ±5.8 IU/ml). Hyperandrogenism was present in 53.8% (n=49), whereas 38.5% (n=35) women had primary infertility or subfertility, while 65.9% (n=60) had menstrual irregularities; and higher frequencies were observed in women with IR. Eight subjects with IR and endocrine abnormalities were missed by fasting insulin.CONCLUSION: Insulin resistance is common in PCOS and it is likely a pathogenic factor for development of PCOS. HOMAIR model performed better than hyperinsulinemia alone for diagnosing IR.


Journal of the College of Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan