Bolus infusion of hydrocortisone and variability of the blood glucose level

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Abstract:

Background: We retrospectively studied associations between bolus infusion of hydrocortisone and variability of the blood glucose level and changes in insulin rates in intensive care unit (ICU) patients.

Methods: ‘Glycemic variability’ and ‘insulin infusion rate variability’ were calculated from and expressed as the standard deviation (SD) of all blood glucose levels and insulin infusion rates during stay in the ICU, respectively. Glycemic and insulin infusion rate variability in patients who received bolus infusion of hydrocortisone were compared to those in patients who never received bolus infusion of hydrocortisone. Multivariate analysis was performed to correct for potential covariates including disease severity.

Results: We included 6409 patients over 6 years; of them 962 received bolus infusion of hydrocortisone. Compared to patients who never received bolus infusion of hydrocortisone, patients who received hydrocortisone had their blood glucose level measured more frequently, had higher glycemic variability; were more frequently treated with intravenous insulin and had higher insulin infusion rate variability. The association between hydrocortisone treatment and glycemic variability was independent of disease severity, but the effect of hydrocortisone treatment on blood glucose variability was less strong in the more severely ill patients. The association between hydrocortisone and insulin infusion rate variability was also independent of disease severity, and independent of glycemic variability.

Conclusions: Bolus infusion of hydrocortisone is independently associated with higher glycemic variability and higher insulin infusion rate variability in ICU patients. Studies are needed to see if continuous infusion of hydrocortisone prevents higher glycemic variability and higher insulin infusion rate variability.

Reference:

van Hooijdonk, V.T.M., Binnekade, J.M., Bos, L.D.J., Horn, J., Juffermans, N.P., Abu‐Hanna, A. and Schultz, M.J. (2015) Associations between bolus infusion of hydrocortisone, glycemic variability and insulin infusion rate variability in critically Ill patients under moderate glycemic control. Annals of Intensive Care. 5:34.

DOI:10.1186/s13613-015-0077-5

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