Hypoglycemia Serious Concern for Hospitalized Diabetics

Low blood sugar significantly increases the risk of inpatient death and one-year mortality

MONDAY, June 29 (HealthDay News) -- Hospitalized diabetics with hypoglycemia have an increased risk of longer stays, inpatient death, and one-year mortality, according to a study published in the July issue of Diabetes Care.

Alexander Turchin, M.D., of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, and colleagues retrospectively studied 4,368 admissions of 2,582 diabetics who were in a teaching hospital sometime between January 2003 and August 2004. Of these, 338 (7.7 percent) had documented hypoglycemic events (blood glucose equal to or less than 50 mg/dL).

The researchers found that each day of hypoglycemia was associated with an additional 2.5 days of hospitalization, and each additional day of hypoglycemia was associated with an 85.3 percent increased risk of inpatient death and a 65.8 percent increased risk of one-year mortality. They also found that each 10 mg/dL decrease in the lowest blood sugar level during hospitalization was associated with a tripled risk of inpatient death.

"Further studies are needed to establish a causal relationship," the authors conclude. "In the meantime, care should be taken to prevent hypoglycemia in this high-risk patient population."

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