Managing Selected Chronic Conditions in Hospitalized Patients

Link to article at PubMed

Am Fam Physician. 2024 Feb;109(2):134-142.


The management of chronic illnesses should continue during hospitalization. Some chronic conditions require immediate intervention, whereas intensification of therapy for other conditions may be delayed until after discharge. Factors such as pain, anxiety, poor sleep hygiene, and concurrent illness can result in a transient elevation of blood pressure. Acute lowering of blood pressure in hospitalized patients who do not have target-organ damage is not recommended and may lead to harm. If treatment is needed, intravenous antihypertensive agents should be avoided. Patients with diabetes mellitus require continued management of their blood glucose while hospitalized. Noninsulin agents are typically discontinued. Blood glucose levels should be managed using basal, prandial, and/or correction insulin. During hospitalization, conservative blood glucose targets (140 to 180 mg per dL) are preferred vs. lower targets to reduce length of stay, mortality, and the risk of hypoglycemic events in critically ill patients. Alcohol use disorder is common and hospitalization for other conditions necessitates identification and management of alcohol withdrawal syndrome. The mainstay of therapy for alcohol withdrawal syndrome is benzodiazepines; however, phenobarbital is an alternative treatment option. The risk of venous thromboembolic disease is significantly increased for hospitalized patients. Venous thromboprophylaxis is recommended for all but low-risk patients. Pharmacologic prophylaxis with subcutaneous low-molecular-weight heparin is preferred; mechanical prophylaxis is an alternative for patients who are at high risk of bleeding or have contraindications to anticoagulation.


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