Int J Med Sci 2021; 18(16):3744-3747. doi:10.7150/ijms.63381 This issue

Short Research Communication

A prospective six-month audit of inpatient hypoglycemia in step-down general medical and geriatric wards

Penny Dwyer1, Jocelyn J Drinkwater1, P Gerry Fegan2, Wendy A Davis1, Timothy M E Davis1✉

1. Medical School, University of Western Australia, Fremantle Hospital, Fremantle, Western Australia, Australia.
2. Department of Endocrinology and Diabetes, Fiona Stanley Hospital, Perth, Western Australia, Australia.

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Citation:
Dwyer P, Drinkwater JJ, Fegan PG, Davis WA, Davis TME. A prospective six-month audit of inpatient hypoglycemia in step-down general medical and geriatric wards. Int J Med Sci 2021; 18(16):3744-3747. doi:10.7150/ijms.63381. Available from https://www.medsci.org/v18p3744.htm

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Abstract

Graphic abstract

This study aimed to assess the incidence and associates of hypoglycemia in patients transferred after stabilization on an Acute Medical Unit to two general medical or two geriatric wards at an urban Australian hospital. In a six-month audit representing 20,284 patient-days of observation, 59 inpatients experienced hypoglycaemia (blood glucose ≤3.9 mmol/L) during 65 hospitalizations. Inpatients experiencing hypoglycemia accounted for 7.2% of all inpatient bed-days, a figure that was greater for general medical (9.2% of bed-days) compared with geriatric (6.0% of bed-days) wards (P<0.001). Inpatient hypoglycemia often had no precipitant such as a missed/delayed meal, occurred disproportionately at night (41% of episodes), was severe (blood glucose ≤3.0 mmol/L) in one-third of cases, and appeared more frequent in patients with psychiatric/cognitive issues. These data highlight the ongoing issue of hypoglycemia in relatively stable inpatients in an era of blood glucose-lowering therapies associated with a low rate of this acute metabolic complication.