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Diabetes Care. 2011 Feb;34(2):256-61. doi: 10.2337/dc10-1407. Epub 2011 Jan 12.

Randomized study of basal-bolus insulin therapy in the inpatient management of patients with type 2 diabetes undergoing general surgery (RABBIT 2 surgery).

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.



The optimal treatment of hyperglycemia in general surgical patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus is not known.


This randomized multicenter trial compared the safety and efficacy of a basal-bolus insulin regimen with glargine once daily and glulisine before meals (n = 104) to sliding scale regular insulin (SSI) four times daily (n = 107) in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus undergoing general surgery. Outcomes included differences in daily blood glucose (BG) and a composite of postoperative complications including wound infection, pneumonia, bacteremia, and respiratory and acute renal failure.


The mean daily glucose concentration after the 1st day of basal-bolus insulin and SSI was 145 ± 32 mg/dL and 172 ± 47 mg/dL, respectively (P < 0.01). Glucose readings <140 mg/dL were recorded in 55% of patients in basal-bolus and 31% in the SSI group (P < 0.001). There were reductions with basal-bolus as compared with SSI in the composite outcome [24.3 and 8.6%; odds ratio 3.39 (95% CI 1.50-7.65); P = 0.003]. Glucose <70 mg/dL was reported in 23.1% of patients in the basal-bolus group and 4.7% in the SSI group (P < 0.001), but there were no significant differences in the frequency of BG <40 mg/dL between groups (P = 0.057).


Basal-bolus treatment with glargine once daily plus glulisine before meals improved glycemic control and reduced hospital complications compared with SSI in general surgery patients. Our study indicates that a basal-bolus insulin regimen is preferred over SSI in the hospital management of general surgery patients with type 2 diabetes.

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