Glucose Levels in Patients With Acute Respiratory Failure Requiring Mechanical Ventilation

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Background:Recent studies suggest that patients with acute exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) frequently develop hyperglycemia, which has been linked to adverse outcomes.Methods:We retrospectively collected information about patient demographics, admission diagnosis, comorbidities, use of insulin, and glucose levels and related tests in 174 patients who required mechanical ventilation for acute respiratory failure.Results:These patients had a mean age of 57.8 ± 16.8 years, a mean Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation (APACHE II) score of 13.8 ± 6.1, and an overall mortality of 32.2%. The mean number of ventilator days was 7.5 ± 7.1. The mean highest glucose level was 239.3 ± 88.9 mg/dL in patients with COPD (n = 41) and 259.1 ± 131.7 mg/dL in patients without COPD (n =133). Patients with diabetes had higher glucose levels than patients without this diagnosis (P < .05). Patients receiving corticosteroids did not have increased glucose levels (P > .05). The mortality rate was higher in patients with glucose levels >140 mg/dL than in patients below 140 mg/dL (35.1% vs 10.5%, P < .05 unadjusted analysis).Conclusion:In this study, hyperglycemia occurred in 89% of the patients with acute respiratory failure requiring mechanical ventilation. The most important risk factor for this was a premorbid diagnosis of diabetes.

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