Stable Blood Sugar Levels Help Critical Illness Survival

Article published on 30th May 2008

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Critically ill patients are less likely to survive their condition if they have drastically fluctuating blood sugar levels. High blood sugar is long known to be a factor in diabetic complications, but new research from Saudi Arabia (revealed in May this year at the American Thoracic Society’s International Conference in Toronto) has for the first time measured and demonstrated how fluctuations in blood glucose levels can detrimentally affect critically ill patients - even while they are in hospital care.

The research has found that high glycemic variability in critically ill patients leads to a 12% increase in the probability of medical complications, and even death, in patients recovering in hospital. Such patients were also found to be much more likely to contract secondary infections during treatment while in hospital (‘nosocomial’ infections)

Dr. Hasan M. Al-Dorzi, spokesman and lead researcher of the project, has been quoted as saying: “This research may lead to further research that changes our focus from only treating high blood glucose to also minimizing changes in glycemic levels.”

Dr. Al-Dorzi went on to suggest that the research may lead to an actual definition of high glycemic variability and perhaps a way to continuously monitor blood sugar and deliver insulin in a more optimum fashion than currently possible.

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