High blood sugar post-surgery linked to complications

Patients with high blood sugar after lower extremity surgical procedures are more likely to experience adverse complications than patients with optimal postoperative glucose control, according to a study published in the Journal of Vascular Surgery.   


For the study, researchers reviewed 3,586 patient cases compiled in the Cerner Health Facts database. Patients included in the study received a lower extremity procedure between September 2008 and March 2014.

The team found approximately 1 in 5 surgical patients experienced hyperglycemia after surgery. On average, these patients displayed higher rates of infection, longer hospital stays and an increased risk of mortality. Patients with high blood sugar after surgery who had not been previously diagnosed with diabetes were just as likely to experience complications as diabetic patients with postoperative hyperglycemia.

"[D]iabetes alone was not associated with an increase in infection rates, length of stay or mortality," said lead author Todd Vogel, MD, associate professor and chief of the vascular surgery division at the Missouri University School of Medicine in Columbia. "Although more research is needed, this suggests that post-procedure hyperglycemia is a significant risk factor for outcomes following lower extremity vascular procedures. Glucose management may represent an important method for improving outcomes following surgical interventions."

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