Clinical question: How does peri-operative hyperglycemia affect the risk of adverse events in diabetic patients compared to nondiabetic patients?
Background: Peri-operative hyperglycemia is associated with increased rates of infection, myocardial infarction, stroke, and death. Recent studies suggest that nondiabetics are more prone to hyperglycemia-related complications than diabetics. This study sought to analyze the effect and mechanism by which nondiabetics may be at increased risk for such complications.
Study Design: Retrospective cohort study.
Setting: Fifty-three hospitals in Washington.
Synopsis: Among 40,836 patients who underwent surgery, diabetics had a higher rate of peri-operative adverse events overall compared to nondiabetics (12% vs. 9%, P<0.001). Peri-operative hyperglycemia, defined as blood glucose 180 or greater, was also associated with an increased rate of adverse events. Ironically, this association was more significant in nondiabetic patients [OR 1.6; 95% CI, 1.3-2.1] than in diabetic patients (OR, 0.8; 95% CI, 0.6-1.0). Although the exact reason for this is unknown, existing theories include the following:
- Diabetics are more apt to receive insulin for peri-operative hyperglycemia than nondiabetics (P<0.001);
- Hyperglycemia in diabetics may be a less reliable marker of surgical stress than in nondiabetics; and
- Diabetics may be better adapted to hyperglycemia than nondiabetics.
Bottom Line: Peri-operative hyperglycemia leads to an increased risk of adverse events; this relationship is more pronounced in nondiabetic patients than in diabetic patients.
Citation: Kotagal M, Symons RG, Hirsch IB, et al. Perioperative hyperglycemia and risk of adverse events among patients with and without diabetes. Ann Surg. 2015;261(1):97-103.