Jordan Messler, MD, Executive Director of Clinical Practice, discusses Glytec’s latest research, the impact on patients and how Glytec can help.
Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, government agencies have warned that individuals living with diabetes are at an increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19. Scientific reports, like the paper we published in April, have measured the outcomes of hospitalized COVID-19 patients with diabetes or patients experiencing hyperglycemia throughout their stay and results indicate that poor glucose management leads to worse outcomes.
Our research showed that mortality rates for hospitalized COVID-19 patients with diabetes were four times greater than those without diabetes. What was surprising, however, was the study also showed that mortality rates were seven times higher for people without diabetes who then experienced hyperglycemia during their hospital stay.
These findings pushed our team and our trusted clinical partners to dig even deeper and investigate the “opportunity window” for treating hospitalized COVID-19 patients with diabetes or hyperglycemia. In December 2020, we provided answers by publishing the first study to address this critical question. The results suggested a higher risk of mortality for patients that did not achieve target blood glucose levels soon after admission and narrowed the opportunity window for treatment to the first 48 to 72 hours of a patient’s stay.
Defining the Opportunity Window
Our peer-reviewed report, published in Diabetes Care, the Journal of the American Diabetes Association, analyzed pooled data from 91 hospitals in 12 states accessed through the Glytec national database. The study ran from March 1 to May 8, 2020. After omitting patients that had been admitted for less than 24 hours, children under the age of 18 and currently active admissions, we analyzed data from 1,601 patients.
Patients were categorized according to achieved mean glucose category in mg/dL during days 2–3 in non-ICU patients or on day 2 in ICU patients.
The results showed that more than half of patients in both the ICU (56%) and non-ICU (53%) did not achieve target blood glucose levels within the first two or three days. This miss resulted in sevenfold mortality risk for the non-ICU patients with severe hyperglycemia after 48 to 72 hours. The study found that achieving target blood glucose within the first two days of admission was associated with reduced mortality.
Supporting Health Systems During and After the Pandemic
These key findings present hospitals with critical insights that weren’t available at the start of the pandemic. While frontline workers manage countless priorities, they need to understand the importance that timely blood glucose management plays in treating hospitalized patients with COVID-19.
As an organization that’s been focused on helping health systems improve glycemic management for patients with and without diabetes for more than 14 years, we’re here to help during these difficult times. If you are a doctor, nurse, frontline worker or health system employee looking for more information, I encourage you to:
- Review our full research report, here.
- Check out our resource center on insulin management and COVID-19, here.
- Reach out to our team of doctors, nurses and diabetes educators, here.
The vaccine roll-out continues to bring hope and promise to hospitals, patients and citizens across the globe. But in the months ahead, there is still plenty we can learn about treating this disease that can influence care delivery and help save lives. The impact of glycemic management is one of the very critical factors providers can better understand and improve.
As we look towards the future, health systems still need to remember that for many conditions beyond COVID-19, like sepsis, coronary disease, pneumonia, stroke and the critically ill, hyperglycemia on admission is a marker for worse outcomes. Time and again, research shows that good glycemic management during the hospital stay leads to better outcomes.
We've partnered with over 300 facilities to provide personalized insulin dosing, glucose surveillance, patient risk identification, glycemic status monitoring, reporting and more to help treat patients in need. We're here to help your health system, too, whether today, tomorrow or in the future.