Decreasing Hypoglycemia following Insulin Administration for Inpatient Hyperkalemia.

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Decreasing Hypoglycemia following Insulin Administration for Inpatient Hyperkalemia.

J Hosp Med. 2020 Feb;15(2):81-86

Authors: Tran AV, Rushakoff RJ, Prasad P, Murray SG, Monash B, Macmaster H

BACKGROUND: Acute hyperkalemia (serum potassium ≥ 5.1 mEq/L) is often treated with a bolus of IV insulin. This treatment may result in iatrogenic hypoglycemia (glucose < 70 mg/dl).
OBJECTIVES: The aims of this study were to accurately determine the frequency of iatrogenic hypoglycemia following insulin treatment for hyperkalemia, and to develop an electronic health record (EHR) orderset to decrease the risk for iatrogenic hypoglycemia.
DESIGN: This study was an observational, prospective study.
SETTING: The setting for this study was a university hospital.
PATIENTS: All nonobstetric adult inpatients in all acute and intensive care units were eligible.
INTERVENTION: Implementation of a hyperkalemia orderset (Orderset 1.1) with glucose checks before and then one, two, four, and six hours after regular intravenous insulin administration. Based on the results from Orderset 1.1, Orderset 1.2 was developed and introduced to include weight-based dosing of insulin options, alerts identifying patients at higher risk of hypoglycemia, and tools to guide decision-making based on the preinsulin blood glucose level.
MEASUREMENTS: Patient demographics, weight, diabetes history, potassium level, renal function, and glucose levels were recorded before, and then glucose levels were measured again at one, two, four, and six hours after insulin was administered.
RESULTS: The iatrogenic hypoglycemia rate identified with mandatory glucose checks in Orderset 1.1 was 21%; 92% of these occurred within three hours posttreatment. Risk factors for hypoglycemia included decreased renal function (serum creatinine >2.5 mg/dl), a high dose of insulin (>0.14 units/kg), and re-treatment with blood glucose < 140 mg/dl. After the introduction of Orderset 1.2, the rate of iatrogenic hypoglycemia decreased to 10%.
CONCLUSIONS: The use of an EHR orderset for treating hyperkalemia may reduce the risk of iatrogenic hypoglycemia in patients receiving insulin while still adequately lowering their potassium.

PMID: 32039749 [PubMed - in process]

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