Point-of-care blood glucose measurement errors overestimate hypoglycaemia rates in critically ill patients.

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Point-of-care blood glucose measurement errors overestimate hypoglycaemia rates in critically ill patients.

Diabetes Metab Res Rev. 2015 Feb;31(2):147-54

Authors: Nya-Ngatchou JJ, Corl D, Onstad S, Yin T, Tylee T, Suhr L, Thompson RE, Wisse BE

BACKGROUND: Hypoglycaemia is associated with morbidity and mortality in critically ill patients, and many hospitals have programmes to minimize hypoglycaemia rates. Recent studies have established the hypoglycaemic patient-day as a key metric and have published benchmark inpatient hypoglycaemia rates on the basis of point-of-care blood glucose data even though these values are prone to measurement errors.
METHODS: A retrospective, cohort study including all patients admitted to Harborview Medical Center Intensive Care Units (ICUs) during 2010 and 2011 was conducted to evaluate a quality improvement programme to reduce inappropriate documentation of point-of-care blood glucose measurement errors. Laboratory Medicine point-of-care blood glucose data and patient charts were reviewed to evaluate all episodes of hypoglycaemia.
RESULTS: A quality improvement intervention decreased measurement errors from 31% of hypoglycaemic (<70 mg/dL) patient-days in 2010 to 14% in 2011 (p < 0.001) and decreased the observed hypoglycaemia rate from 4.3% of ICU patient-days to 3.4% (p < 0.001). Hypoglycaemic events were frequently recurrent or prolonged (~40%), and these events are not identified by the hypoglycaemic patient-day metric, which also may be confounded by a large number of very low risk or minimally monitored patient-days.
CONCLUSIONS: Documentation of point-of-care blood glucose measurement errors likely overestimates ICU hypoglycaemia rates and can be reduced by a quality improvement effort. The currently used hypoglycaemic patient-day metric does not evaluate recurrent or prolonged events that may be more likely to cause patient harm. The monitored patient-day as currently defined may not be the optimal denominator to determine inpatient hypoglycaemic risk.

PMID: 25044666 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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