Glycemic Control Reduces Infections in Post–Liver Transplant Patients: Results of a Prospective, Randomized Study

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Abstract

Context:

Previous studies have shown a relationship between glycemic control and posttransplant morbidity.

Objective:

We conducted a prospective randomized controlled trial in postliver transplant patients to evaluate intensive inpatient glycemic control and effects on outcomes to 1 year.

Research Design and Intervention:

A total of 164 patients [blood glucose (BG) >180 mg/dL] were randomized into 2 target groups: 82 with a BG of 140 mg/dL and 82 with a BG of 180 mg/dL. Continuous insulin infusions were initiated and then converted to subcutaneous basal bolus insulin therapy by our glucose management service.

Results:

The inpatient mean BG level was significantly different (140 group, 151.4 ± 19.5 mg/dL vs 180 group, 172.6 ± 27.9 mg/dL; P < 0.001). Any infection within 1 year occurred in 35 of the 82 patients (42.7%) in the 140 group and 54 of 82 (65.9%) in the 180 group (P = 0.0046). In a time-to-first infection analysis, being in the 140 group resulted in a hazard ratio of 0.54 (95% confidence interval, 0.35 to 0.83; P = 0.004); the difference between the 2 groups was statistically significant at 1 month (P = 0.008). The number with adjudicated transplant rejection was similar between the 2 groups [17 of 82 (20.7%) and 20 of 82 (24.3%) in the 140 and 180 groups, respectively; P = not significant]. Severe hypoglycemia (BG ≤40 mg/dL) occurred in 3 patients (2 in the 140 group and 1 in the 180 group). However, more patients had moderate hypoglycemia (BG, 41 to 70 mg/dL) in the 140 group [27 of 82 (32.9%) vs 10 of 82 (12.2%) in the 180 group; P = 0.003]. Insulin-related hypoglycemia was not associated with the incidence of severe adverse outcomes.

Conclusions:

Glycemic control of 140 mg/dL safely resulted in a reduced incidence of infection after transplantation compared with 180 mg/dL, but with an increase in moderate hypoglycemia.

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