Tight glucose control in critically ill children—a systematic review and meta-analysis

Vijay Srinivasan, Michael S D Agus
Pediatric Diabetes 2014, 15 (2): 75-83

BACKGROUND: It is unclear if tight glucose control (TGC) with intensive insulin therapy (IIT) can improve outcomes in critically ill children admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU). The objective of this systematic review and meta-analysis is to describe the benefits and risks of TGC with IIT in critically ill children and explore differences between published studies.

METHODS: Prospective randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of TGC with IIT in critically ill children admitted to the ICU were identified through a search of MEDLINE, PubMed, EMBASE, Scopus, ISI Web of Science and Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews as well as detailed citation review of relevant primary and review articles. RCTs of TGC with IIT in critically ill adults and preterm neonates were excluded. Data on study design and setting, sample size, incidence of hypoglycemia, incidence of acquired infection, and 30-day mortality were abstracted. Meta-analytic techniques were used for analysis of outcomes including 30-day mortality, acquired infection, and incidence of hypoglycemia.

RESULTS: We identified four RCTs of TGC with IIT in critically ill children that included 3288 subjects. Overall, TGC with IIT did not result in a decrease in 30-day mortality [odds ratio (OR): 0.79; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.55-1.15, p = 0.22]. TGC with IIT was associated with decrease in acquired infection (OR: 0.76; 95% CI: 0.59-0.99, p = 0.04). TGC with IIT was also associated with significant increase in hypoglycemia (OR: 6.14; 95% CI: 2.74-13.78, p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: TGC with IIT does not result in decrease in 30-day mortality, but appears to reduce acquired infection in critically ill children. However, TGC with IIT is associated with higher incidence of hypoglycemia. Large multi-center studies of TGC with IIT using continuous glucose monitoring in critically ill children are needed to determine if this strategy can definitively improve clinical outcomes in this population without increasing hypoglycemia.

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