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Online ISSN 1827-1596
Merz T. M. 1, Finfer S. 1,2,3
1 Department of Intensive Care Medicine, Royal North Shore Hospital of Sydney, St Leonards, Australia
2 Faculty of Medicine, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
3 Department of Critical Care and Trauma, The George Institute for International Health,Sydney, Australia
Hyperglycaemia is common in acute illness and more severe hyperglycaemia is associated with worse outcomes in critically ill patients in general and after acute myocardial infarction, stroke, and trauma. Normalization of blood glucose by intensive insulin therapy has been shown to reduce morbidity and mortality in one study in surgical intensive care patients; a subsequent study in medical intensive care patients resulted in reduced morbidity but not a reduction in mortality. Multicentre studies and current meta-analyses in the critically ill have not demonstrated improved outcomes when normalization of blood glucose was targeted; furthermore all studies to date have detected an increased risk of hypoglycaemia in patients subjected to intensive insulin therapy. At present, universal treatment guidelines or recommendations to target strict normoglycaemia must be considered premature. Further data will be available after the completion of the NICE-SUGAR study which has recruited 6103 patients; the NICE SUGAR study will add significant power to future meta-analyses and may help define the role of intensive insulin therapy in critically ill patients.