Diabetics Face More Complications After Trauma

They're also less likely to be discharged to home, study finds

TUESDAY, July 17, 2007 (HealthDay News) -- People with diabetes suffer more complications after a trauma injury than patients without the disease, a U.S. study finds.

Along with having more complications during hospitalization, trauma patients with diabetes spend more days in the intensive care unit and require more ventilator support, the study said.

Researchers at the Penn State College of Medicine and the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, Pa., analyzed data on 12,489 trauma patients with diabetes treated at 27 Pennsylvania trauma centers between 1984 and 2002, and compared their outcomes to those of 12,489 trauma patients without diabetes.

Compared to patients without diabetes, those with the blood sugar illness:

  • Were more likely to experience complications (23 percent vs. 14 percent)
  • Were more likely to require care in the intensive care unit (38.4 percent vs. 35.9 percent)
  • Stayed in the ICU longer (an average of 7.6 days vs. 6.1 days)
  • Required a longer period of ventilator support (10.8 days vs. 8.4 days)
  • Developed more infections (11.3 percent vs. 6.3 percent).
  • Were less likely to be discharged to home and more likely to require skilled nursing care after discharge.

There were no differences between the two groups of patients in terms of length of hospital stay or death rates.

"Future studies are need to evaluate the effect of improved glycemic [blood sugar] control on hospitalized patients with diabetes mellitus involved in trauma," the study authors wrote.

The findings were published in the July issue of the journal Archives of Surgery.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about diabetes.

SOURCE: JAMA/Archives journals, news release, July 16, 2007
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