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Endocr Pract. 2015 May;21(5):501-7. doi: 10.4158/EP14355.OR. Epub 2015 Feb 9.

Temporal occurrences and recurrence patterns of hypoglycemia during hospitalization.



To describe the temporal distribution of hypoglycemia and its rate of recurrence during hospitalization to aid in the development of strategies to prevent hypoglycemia in hospitalized patients.


Retrospective review of hypoglycemia (blood glucose <50 mg/dL) audit data in adult hospitalized patients at 2 academic hospitals. Demographics, timing, and blood glucose values were recorded. Antihyperglycemic medications, number of recurrent events, and change in basal insulin dose following the hypoglycemic event were also extracted.


A total of 274 index occurrences of hypoglycemia were analyzed. The mean age of the patients was 53.8 years, with roughly equal gender distributions. Twenty-eight percent of the events occurred in the absence of antihyperglycemic therapy. The incidence of hypoglycemia peaked between midnight and 6 AM. There were 36 instances of recurrent hypoglycemia associated with antihyperglycemic therapy, with 78% (n = 28) cases involving basal insulin. Patients on basal insulin who developed hypoglycemia did not have their dose changed prior to the time of the next administration in 75% of the cases.


Hypoglycemia in hospitalized patients may occur with greater frequency overnight. Although cumbersome, routine nocturnal glycemic testing should be considered. Education regarding insulin management in the hospital and improved communication between night and day staff may aid in decreasing subsequent hypoglycemic events.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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