Improving blood sugar control during critical illness: a cohort study.J Crit Care. 2010 Mar; 25(1):78-83.JC
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.
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.
In a regional ICU, nurse-titrated glycemic control is safe, effective, and results in high compliance with a glucose target range.