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Crit Care. 2009;13(5):R163. doi: 10.1186/cc8129. Epub 2009 Oct 12.

Computerized intensive insulin dosing can mitigate hypoglycemia and achieve tight glycemic control when glucose measurement is performed frequently and on time.

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  • 1Division of Endocrinology, Indiana University School of Medicine, 545 Barnhill Drive, EH 421, Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA. rajuneja@iupui.edu

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

Control of blood glucose (BG) in critically ill patients is considered important, but is difficult to achieve, and often associated with increased risk of hypoglycemia. We examined the use of a computerized insulin dosing algorithm to manage hyperglycemia with particular attention to frequency and conditions surrounding hypoglycemic events.

METHODS:

This is a retrospective analysis of adult patients with hyperglycemia receiving intravenous (IV) insulin therapy from March 2006 to December 2007 in the intensive care units of 2 tertiary care teaching hospitals. Patients placed on a glycemic control protocol using the Clarian GlucoStabilizer IV insulin dosing calculator with a target range of 4.4-6.1 mmol/L were analyzed. Metrics included time to target, time in target, mean blood glucose +/- standard deviation, % measures in hypoglycemic ranges <3.9 mmol/L, per-patient hypoglycemia, and BG testing interval.

RESULTS:

4,588 ICU patients were treated with the GlucoStabilizer to a BG target range of 4.4-6.1 mmol/L. We observed 254 severe hypoglycemia episodes (BG <2.2 mmol/L) in 195 patients, representing 0.1% of all measurements, and in 4.25% of patients or 0.6 episodes per 1000 hours on insulin infusion. The most common contributing cause for hypoglycemia was measurement delay (n = 170, 66.9%). The median (interquartile range) time to achieve the target range was 5.9 (3.8 - 8.9) hours. Nearly all (97.5%) of patients achieved target and remained in target 73.4% of the time. The mean BG (+/- SD) after achieving target was 5.4 (+/- 0.52) mmol/L. Targeted blood glucose levels were achieved at similar rates with low incidence of severe hypoglycemia in patients with and without diabetes, sepsis, renal, and cardiovascular disease.

CONCLUSIONS:

Glycemic control to a lower glucose target range can be achieved using a computerized insulin dosing protocol. With particular attention to timely measurement and adjustment of insulin doses the risk of hypoglycemia experienced can be minimized.

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