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J Diabetes Sci Technol. 2013 Sep 1;7(5):1220-8.

Retrospective outcomes of glucose control in critically ill children.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Section of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, 333 Cedar St., P.O. Box 208064, New Haven, CT 06520-8064.



Hyperglycemia is a significant problem for critically ill children. Treatment for hyperglycemia remains controversial. This study explores the effect of controlling blood glucose (BG) in hyperglycemic critically ill children.


A retrospective cohort of nondiabetic critically ill children (defined as requiring mechanical ventilation and/or vasopressors) with BG persistently ≥ 150 mg/dl and treated with insulin (treatment group) were compared with a historical cohort of similar children who did not receive interventions to control hyperglycemia (baseline group).


There were 130 children in the treatment group and 137 children in the baseline group. Mean BG in the treatment group was 140 ± 24 mg/dl compared with 179 ± 47 mg/dl in the baseline group (p < .001). After adjusting for patient characteristics, cointerventions, and glucose metrics, patients in the treatment group had 2.5 fewer intensive care unit (ICU)-free days (i.e., number of days alive and discharged from ICU within 28 days after inclusion) than the baseline group (p = .023). Glucose control was not independently associated with duration of ICU stay, ventilator-free days, vasopressor-free days, or mortality.


Blood glucose control appears associated with worse outcomes in critically ill children. Our data combined with conflicting results in adults leads us to strongly advocate for the conduct of randomized trials on glucose control in critically ill children.

© 2013 Diabetes Technology Society.

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