Reducing the risk of hypoglycemia associated with intravenous insulin: experience with a computerized insulin infusion program in 4 adult intensive care units

Victoria Sandler, Meaghan R Misiasz, Jocelyn Jones, David Baldwin
Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology 2014, 8 (5): 923-9
Computerized insulin infusion protocols have facilitated more effective blood glucose (BG) control in intensive care units (ICUs). This is particularly important in light of the risks associated with hypoglycemia. End stage renal disease (ESRD) increases the risk of insulin-induced hypoglycemia. We evaluated BG control in 210 patients in 2 medical ICUs and in 2 surgical ICUs who were treated with a computerized insulin infusion program (CIIP). Our CIIP was programmed for a BG target of 140-180 mg/dL for medical ICU patients or 120-160 mg/dL for surgical ICU patients. In addition, we focused on BG control in the 11% of our patients with ESRD. Mean BG was 147 ± 20 mg/dL for surgical ICU patients and 171 ± 26 mg/dL for medical ICU patients. Of both surgical and medical ICU patients, 17% had 1 or more BG 60-79 mg/dL, while 3% of surgical ICU and 8% of medical ICU patients had 1 or more BG < 60 mg/dL. Mean BG in ESRD patients was 147 ± 16 mg/dL similar to 152 ± 23 mg/dL in patients without ESRD. Of ESRD patients, 41% had 1 or more BG < 79 mg/dL as compared with 17.8% of non-ESRD patients (P < .01). A higher BG target for medical ICU patients as compared with surgical ICU patients yielded comparably low rates of moderate or severe hypoglycemia. However, hypoglycemia among ESRD patients was more common compared to non-ESRD patients, suggesting a need for a higher BG target specific to ESRD patients.

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