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Diabetes Technol Ther. 2013 Mar;15(3):246-52. doi: 10.1089/dia.2012.0277. Epub 2013 Jan 4.

Computerization of the Yale insulin infusion protocol and potential insights into causes of hypoglycemia with intravenous insulin.

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Hiram C. Polk Department of Surgery, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY 40202, USA.



The management of critically ill hyperglycemic patients in the intensive care unit (ICU) has been fraught with recent controversy. Only one randomized trial has demonstrated a mortality benefit to intensive glycemic control, with all subsequent studies failing to confirm this benefit and revealing a markedly increased risk of severe hypoglycemia (SH) in intensively treated patients. In most of these trials, adherence to the protocols were neither tracked nor reported.


A retrospective analysis of all patients admitted to an ICU who were treated with an insulin infusion directed by the GlucoCare™ IGC System, an FDA-cleared insulin-dosing calculator (Yale 100-140 mg/dL protocol). Mean blood glucose (BG) levels, time to target range and incidence of SH (<40 mg/dL) and moderate hypoglycemia (MH) (40-69 mg/dL) were determined, and potential causes of hypoglycemic episodes were assessed.


Mean post-target BG was approximately 123 mg/dL. Of >55,000 readings in 1,657 patients, overall incidence of SH was 0.01% of readings and 0.3% of patients. MH occurred in 1.1% of readings and 17.6% of patients. The top potential causes of MH were: (1) Protocol-directed recommendations including continuation of insulin with BG <100 mg/dL and decreases in the frequency of BG checks (63.7%), and (2) Staff non-adherence to protocol directives (15.3%).


The results of the GlucoCare-directed Yale 100-140 mg/dL protocol experience revealed an extremely low incidence of SH and an incidence of MH of 1.1%. The incidence of SH in this study was lower than the control group of the NICE-SUGAR study and are supportive of the new Society of Critical Care guidelines to target BG levels of 100-150 mg/dL in critically ill patients. Further refinements to the original protocol and emphasis on staff adherence to protocol directives could potentially further reduce these very low hypoglycemia rates.

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