Goal-directed glycemic management – which may include new technologies for glucose monitoring – for non–critically ill hospitalized patients who have diabetes or newly recognized hyperglycemia can improve outcomes, according to a new practice guideline from the Endocrine Society.
Even though roughly 35% of hospitalized patients have diabetes or newly discovered hyperglycemia, there is “wide variability in glycemic management in clinical practice,” writing panel chair Mary Korytkowski, MD, from the University of Pittsburgh, said at the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society. “These patients get admitted to every patient service in the hospital, meaning that every clinical service will encounter this group of patients, and their glycemic management can have a major effect on their outcomes. Both short term and long term.”
This guideline provides strategies “to achieve previously recommended glycemic goals while also reducing the risk for hypoglycemia, and this includes inpatient use of insulin pump therapy or continuous glucose monitoring [CGM] devices, among others,” she said.
It also includes “recommendations for preoperative glycemic goals as well as when the use of correctional insulin – well known as sliding scale insulin – may be appropriate” and when it is not.
The document, which replaces a 2012 guideline, was published online in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
A multidisciplinary panel developed the document over the last 3 years to answer 10 clinical practice questions related to management of non–critically ill hospitalized patients with diabetes or newly discovered hyperglycemia.
Use of CGM devices in hospital
The first recommendation is: “In adults with insulin-treated diabetes hospitalized for noncritical illness who are at high risk of hypoglycemia, we suggest the use of real-time [CGM] with confirmatory bedside point-of-care blood glucose monitoring for adjustments in insulin dosing rather than point-of-care blood glucose rather than testing alone in hospital settings where resources and training are available.” (Conditional recommendation. Low certainty of evidence).
“We were actually very careful in terms of looking at the data” for use of CGMs, Dr. Korytkowski said in an interview.
Although CGMs are approved by the Food and Drug Administration in the outpatient setting, and that’s becoming the standard of care there, they are not yet approved for in-hospital use.
However,an emergency allowance for use of CGMs in hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic.
That was “when everyone was scrambling for what to do,” Dr. Korytkowski noted. “There was a shortage of personal protective equipment and a real interest in trying to limit the amount of exposure of healthcare personnel in some of these really critically ill patients for whom intravenous insulin therapy was used to control their glucose level.”
The new guideline suggests CGM be used to detect trends in glycemic management, with insulin dosing decisions made with point-of-care glucose measure (the standard of care).
To implement CGM for glycemic management in hospitals, Dr. Korytkowski said, would require “extensive staff and nursing education to have people with expertise available to provide support to nursing personnel who are both placing these devices, changing these devices, looking at trends, and then knowing when to remove them for certain procedures such as MRI or radiologic procedures.”
“We know that not all hospitals may be readily available to use these devices,” she said. “It is an area of active research. But the use of these devices during the pandemic, in both critical care and non–critical care setting has really provided us with a lot of information that was used to formulate this suggestion in the guideline.”
The document addresses the following areas: CGM, continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion pump therapy, inpatient diabetes education, prespecified preoperative glycemic targets, use of neutral protamine Hagedorn insulin for glucocorticoid or enteral nutrition-associated hyperglycemia, noninsulin therapies, preoperative carbohydrate-containing oral fluids, carbohydrate counting for prandial (mealtime) insulin dosing, and correctional and scheduled (basal or basal bolus) insulin therapies.