Chromium Infusion Reverses Extreme Insulin Resistance in a Cardiothoracic ICU Patient

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Abstract

Insulin resistance is common and often multifactorial in acutely critically ill patients. At our institution, glycemic control is achieved in these patients using an intravenous insulin protocol. The authors present a case in which a patient developed severe insulin resistance following surgical repair of a thoracic aorta aneurysm. Postoperatively, the patient required 2110 units of insulin over 40 hours while receiving pressors and glucocorticoids. After the administration of intravenous chromium at 3 μg/h, the blood sugar normalized and insulin therapy was discontinued. This case represents a unique approach using intravenous chromium to achieve glycemic control in a patient with extreme insulin resistance and acute critical illness. Prospective clinical trials using intravenous chromium may provide the means to optimize intensive insulin therapy for critically ill patients.

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