Hyperglycemia after Trauma Increases with Age

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The metabolic responses to trauma and surgery have been well described and are observed most typically in otherwise healthy young and middle-aged individuals. To investigate the effect of age on blood glucose, insulin, and cortisol responses after mild to moderate trauma, we studied 33 patients (Injury Severity Scores, 5–38, and ages 16 to 81 years) before resuscitation and 24–96 hours postinjury. Age was associated with an increase in serum glucose during both ebb and flow phases of the injury response, but not with serum insulin. Serum glucose also increased with the degree of injury as reflected in Glasgow Coma Scale on admission and Injury Severity Score subsequently. Serum cortisol responses were increased in older patients and tended to decrease with time following injury. A more detailed knowledge of how age may alter the ability of elderly patients to respond to trauma and critical illness is essential to allow the continued development of rational therapies for such patients.

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