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Anesth Analg. 2012 Sep;115(3):580-7. doi: 10.1213/ANE.0b013e318259ee31. Epub 2012 Jun 5.

A novel computerized fading memory algorithm for glycemic control in postoperative surgical patients.

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  • 1Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA.



Hyperglycemia is commonly encountered in critically ill patients and is associated with increased mortality and morbidity. To better control blood glucose levels, we previously developed a new computerized fading memory (FM) algorithm. In this study we evaluated the safety and efficacy of this algorithm in surgical intensive care unit (SICU) patients and compared its performance against the existing insulin-infusion algorithm (named VA algorithm) used in our institution.


A computer program was developed to run the FM and VA algorithms. Forty eight patients, who were scheduled to have elective surgery, were randomly assigned to receive insulin infusion on the basis of either the FM or VA algorithm. On SICU admission, an insulin infusion was either continued from the operating room or initiated when the glucose level exceeded the target level of 140 mg/dL. Hourly blood glucose measurements were performed and entered into the computer program, which then prescribed the next insulin dose. The randomly assigned algorithm was applied for the first 8 hours of SICU stay, after which the VA algorithm was used. The number of episodes of hypoglycemia (glucose <60 mg/dL) and excessive hyperglycemia (>300 mg/dL) were noted. Additionally, the time required to bring the glucose level within target range (140 ± 20 mg/dL), the number of glucose measurements within the target range, glycemic variability, and insulin usage were analyzed and compared between the 2 algorithms.


Patient demographics and starting glucose levels were similar between the groups. With the existing VA algorithm, 1 episode of severe hypoglycemia was observed. Three patients did not reach the target range within 8 hours. With the FM algorithm no hypoglycemia occurred, and all patients achieved the target range within 8 hours. Glycemic variability measured by the SD of mean glucose levels was 28% (95% confidence interval, 14% to 39%) lower for the FM algorithm (P < 0.001). The FM algorithm used 1.1 U/h less insulin than did the VA algorithm (P = 0.043).


The novel computerized FM algorithm for glycemic control, which emulates physiologic biphasic insulin secretion, managed glucose better than the existing algorithm without any episodes of hypoglycemia. The FM algorithm had less glycemic variability and used less insulin when compared to the conventional clinical algorithm.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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