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Diabetes Technol Ther. 2006 Dec;8(6):609-16.

Comparison of once-daily glargine insulin with twice-daily NPH/regular insulin for control of hyperglycemia in inpatients after cardiovascular surgery.

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Section of Endocrinology, Department of Internal Medicine, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois 60612, USA.



Traditionally hyperglycemia in surgical inpatients has been managed with six-hourly sliding-scale regular insulin. However, this approach is usually ineffective in preventing hyperglycemia since no basal insulin is provided. We compared glycemic control using NPH and regular insulin versus glargine insulin alone in patients after cardiovascular surgery on a general surgical ward.


Ninety-four hyperglycemic patients were randomized to subcutaneous insulin using twice-daily NPH/regular or once-daily glargine if they required at least 1 unit/h of intravenous insulin at the time of transfer from the ICU. NPH/regular was adjusted twice daily; glargine was adjusted once daily. Blood glucose was measured four times daily and targeted to 80-140 mg/dL.


The mean blood glucose after NPH/regular (124 mg/dL) and glargine (131 mg/dL) was similar (P = 0.065). In the subgroup of patients with a history of diabetes, mean blood glucose was significantly lower after NPH/regular (133 mg/dL) versus glargine (154 mg/dL) (P = 0.016). Blood glucose less than 60 mg/dL was significantly less common after glargine (0.5%) as compared with NPH/regular (2%) (P = 0.036).


Once-daily glargine insulin provides good glycemic control in hyperglycemic patients after cardiovascular surgery. Although twice-daily NPH/regular insulin provided better control than glargine insulin monotherapy, the simplicity and safety of glargine insulin make it an attractive option for the management of postoperative hyperglycemia. Patients with established diabetes will achieve better glucose control with NPH/regular insulin as compared with glargine but have a higher incidence of hypoglycemia.

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