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Mild hypoglycemia linked to mortality rate in critically ill patients

Category: Heart Health and Cholesterol

A comprehensive global study involving medical centers from New Zealand, Australia and Japan has found that mild to moderate hypoglycemia, or low blood pressure, may increase the mortality rate in critically ill patients.

The researchers examined nearly 4,946 critically ill patients, finding that 1,109 experienced hypoglycemia. The remaining 3,837 non-hypoglycemic patients served as the control group for the study.

Although mild to moderate hypoglycemia had been previously considered to be clinically irrelevant, the research team found that patients afflicted with the condition had a mortality rate of 36.6 percent, compared to only 19.7 percent for those in the control group.

Moreover, the investigators discovered that the severity of hypoglycemia directly correlated with the patient's risk of death.

"Our results suggest that any tolerance of mild to moderate hypoglycemia by intensive care clinicians may be undesirable. In this regard, newer technologies such as continuous glucose monitoring in the ICU setting might help avoid hypoglycemia or identify it earlier," concluded Rinaldo Bellomo, from the department of intensive care at Austin Health in Australia.

The mortality rate of each group remained the same after accounting for various risk factors, including insulin therapy and the timing of the episode.

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