Inpatient management of hyperglycemia: The northwestern experience

Anthony J. DeSantis, Lowell R. Schmeltz, Kathleen Schmidt, Eileen O'Shea-Mahler, Connie Rhee, Angela Wells, Stephen Brandt, Sara Peterson, Mark E. Molitch*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


Objective: To describe a novel method of safe and effective intensive management of inpatient hyperglycemia with use of cost-effective protocols directed by a glucose management service (GMS). Methods: An intravenous insulin protocol was designed to achieve a glycemic target of 80 to 110 mg/dL. When stable inpatients were transferred from the intravenous protocol to a subcutaneous insulin protocol, which consisted of basal long-acting and prandial and supplemental rapid-acting insulins, the blood glucose target was 80 to 150 mg/dL. Glucose levels were reviewed by the GMS at least daily for protocol adjustments, when necessary. Results: The intravenous insulin protocol was used in 276 patients, and 4,058 capillary blood glucose levels were recorded. Glycemic target levels (80 to 110 mg/dL) were achieved, on average, 10.6 ± 5.2 hours after initiation of insulin drip therapy. The mean capillary blood glucose level during the study interval was 135.3 ± 49.9 mg/dL. Hypoglycemia (≤60 mg/dL) was recorded in 1.5% of glucose values, and hyperglycemia (≥400 mg/dL) was recorded in only 0.06%. The subcutaneous insulin protocol was used in 922 patients, and 18,067 capillary glucose levels were documented. The mean blood glucose level was 145.6 ± 55.8 mg/dL during the study period. The blood glucose target of 80 to 150 mg/dL was achieved in 58.6%, whereas 74.3% of glycemic values were in the clinically acceptable range (80 to 180 mg/dL). Hypoglycemia (≤60 mg/dL) occurred in 1.3% of capillary blood glucose values, and hyperglycemia (≥400 mg/dL) occurred in 0.4% of values. Conclusion: Validated protocols dedicated to the achievement of strict glycemic goals were implemented by a GMS and resulted in substantial improvements in glycemic control on the surgical inpatient services, with a reduced frequency of hypoglycemia. The protocols and the GMS have been well received by the inpatient nursing and surgical staff members, and all of this has been done in a cost-effective manner.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)491-505
Number of pages15
JournalEndocrine Practice
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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