The paradox of the glycemic gap: Does relative hypoglycemia exist in critically ill patients?

Link to article at PubMed

Clin Nutr. 2021 Jun 17;40(7):4654-4661. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2021.06.004. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND & AIMS: Elevated glycemic gap, as the differences between measured glucose and hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c)-derived average glucose (ADAG) levels, is a marker of stress-induced hyperglycemia and is a predictor of mortality in critically ill patients. Whether low glycemic gaps are associated with outcomes in critically ill patients remains unclear. We investigated the association of different glycemic gaps on mortality in critically ill patients.

METHODS: Totally 935 patients admitted to intensive care units (ICUs) were enrolled retrospectively after the exclusion of patients with absolute hypoglycemia, extreme hyperglycemia, and incomplete glycemic records. Patients were divided into 3 groups according to their glycemic gaps (<-29.7, -29.7-40, ≧40 mg/dL) at the time of ICU admission. The patients were followed for 1 year or until death.

RESULTS: Patients with low glycemic gap (glycemic gap < -29.7 mg/dL), which implied relative hypoglycemia, had lower serum glucose levels, higher HbA1c levels, and greater disease severity. Compared with medium group (glycemic gap -29.7-40 mg/dL), both the low and the high glycemic gap (glycemic gap ≧40 mg/dL) groups had significantly greater 30-day (log-rank p = 0.0464) and 1-year mortality (log-rank p = 0.0016). However, only the low glycemic gap group was independently associated with greater in-hospital mortality after adjusting for comorbidities (adjusted OR 1.78, 95% CI 1.00-3.16, p = 0.048).

CONCLUSION: This study revealed the presence of a U-shaped relationship between the glycemic gap and mortality in critically ill patients. Low glycemic gaps suggested relative hypoglycemia at the time of ICU admission, and were associated independently with greater in-hospital mortality.

PMID:34229272 | DOI:10.1016/j.clnu.2021.06.004

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