COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE

Improving blood sugar control during critical illness: a cohort study

Enda O'Connor, David Tragen, Paul Fahey, Michael Robinson, Theresa Cremasco
Journal of Critical Care 2010, 25 (1): 78-83
19327316

PURPOSE: The aim of this study is to compare blood sugar control and safety profile of nurse-titrated and medically ordered glucose-insulin regimens.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: We conducted a retrospective cohort study in a 9-bedded regional intensive care unit (ICU) in Queensland, Australia. Seventy critically ill patients requiring one-on-one nursing and intravenous insulin were included. In the nursing group, the ICU nurse decided initial and ongoing insulin infusion rates and glucose measurement frequency. The medical group had a traditional insulin sliding scale prescription.

RESULTS: Thirty-seven patients in the nursing group had 1949 glucose measurements. Thirty-three patients in the medical group had 2118 measurements. Mean blood sugar levels (+/-SD) were 8.33 +/- 2.34 and 8.78 +/- 2.74 in nursing and medical groups (P < .001). Eighteen percent of glucose readings were greater than 10 mmol/L in the nursing group compared with 27% in the medical group (P = .038). The incidence of hypoglycemia (<2.2 mmol/L) was similar in the 2 groups.

CONCLUSIONS: In a regional ICU, nurse-titrated glycemic control is safe, effective, and results in high compliance with a glucose target range.

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