Hyperinsulinemic Normoglycemia during Cardiac Surgery Reduces a Composite of 30-day Mortality and Serious In-hospital Complications: A Randomized Clinical Trial

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Hyperinsulinemic normoglycemia augments myocardial glucose uptake and utilization. We tested the hypothesis that hyperinsulinemic normoglycemia reduces 30-day mortality and morbidity after cardiac surgery.


This dual-center, parallel-group, superiority trial randomized cardiac surgical patients between August 2007 and March 2015 at the Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio, and Royal Victoria Hospital, Montreal, Canada, to intraoperative glycemic management with (1) hyperinsulinemic normoglycemia, a fixed high-dose insulin and concomitant variable glucose infusion titrated to glucose concentrations of 80 to 110 mg · dl–1; or (2) standard glycemic management, low-dose insulin infusion targeting glucose greater than 150 mg · dl–1. The primary outcome was a composite of 30-day mortality, mechanical circulatory support, infection, renal or neurologic morbidity. Interim analyses were planned at each 12.5% enrollment of a maximum 2,790 patients.


At the third interim analysis (n = 1,439; hyperinsulinemic normoglycemia, 709, standard glycemic management, 730; 52% of planned maximum), the efficacy boundary was crossed and study stopped per protocol. Time-weighted average glucose concentration (means ± SDs) with hyperinsulinemic normoglycemia was 108 ± 20 versus 150 ± 33 mg · dl–1 with standard glycemic management, P < 0.001. At least one component of the composite outcome occurred in 49 (6.9%) patients receiving hyperinsulinemic normoglycemia versus 82 (11.2%) receiving standard glucose management (P < efficacy boundary 0.0085); estimated relative risk (95% interim-adjusted CI) 0.62 (0.39 to 0.97), P = 0.0043. There was a treatment-by-site interaction (P = 0.063); relative risk for the composite outcome was 0.49 (0.26 to 0.91, P = 0.0007, n = 921) at Royal Victoria Hospital, but 0.96 (0.41 to 2.24, P = 0.89, n = 518) at the Cleveland Clinic. Severe hypoglycemia (less than 40 mg · dl–1) occurred in 6 (0.9%) patients.


Intraoperative hyperinsulinemic normoglycemia reduced mortality and morbidity after cardiac surgery. Providing exogenous glucose while targeting normoglycemia may be preferable to simply normalizing glucose concentrations.

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