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Can J Hosp Pharm. 2011 Sep;64(5):333-9.

Implementation of the glucommander method of adjusting insulin infusions in critically ill patients.

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  • 1, PharmD, is with the Pharmacy Department, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto, Ontario.



Intensive glycemic control has been associated with reduced morbidity and mortality in critically ill patients. Web-based, patient-specific insulin nomograms may facilitate improved glucose control.


To compare 2 algorithms for individualizing insulin infusion therapy (a web-based system [Glucommander method] and a standard paper-based nomogram) in a cardiovascular surgery intensive care unit (ICU).


In this prospective, before-after cohort study, measures of glycemic control for 50 patients receiving insulin according to the Glucommander system were compared with a control group (n = 50) who received insulin according to the standard paper-based nomogram used in the cardiovascular surgery ICU.


There was no significant difference between the 2 groups with respect to time to target blood glucose (5.1-8.0 mmol/L), percentage of time within the target range, or mean amplitude of glucose excursion. Patients in the intervention group spent less time above the target range (p = 0.007) and more time below the target range (p < 0.001), and the mean glucose was lower in this group compared with the control group (7.9 versus 8.6 mmol/L, p = 0.002). The percentage of blood glucose measurements below 4 mmol/L was higher in the intervention group than in the control group (3.7% versus 1.4%, p = 0.003). Satisfaction surveys revealed that the program was well accepted by the nursing staff in the cardiovascular surgery ICU.


A web-based insulin nomogram was an easy-to-use instrument for achieving tighter glucose control for patients in the cardiovascular surgery ICU. Use of the Glucommander system led to lower mean blood glucose but an increase in episodes of hypoglycemia.


critically ill patients; tight glycemic control

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