Eliminating the diabetic disadvantage: the Portland Diabetic Project

Semin Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. Winter 2006;18(4):302-8. doi: 10.1053/j.semtcvs.2006.04.005.


The Portland Diabetic Project is an ongoing prospective study of 5534 diabetic cardiac surgery patients that elucidates the effects of hyperglycemia, and its subsequent reduction with continuous insulin infusions (CII), on in-hospital outcomes. Increasing glucose levels were found to be directly associated with increasing rates of death, deep sternal wound infections (DSWI), length of stay (LOS), and hospital costs. In separate multivariable analyses, hyperglycemia was found to be independently predictive of mortality (P < 0.0001), DSWI (P = 0.0001), and LOS (P < 0.002). Conversely, CII, designed to achieve predetermined target glucose levels, independently reduced the risks of death and DSWI by 65% and 63%, respectively (P < 0.001 for both). Target glucose levels <150 mg/dL and a 3-day postoperative duration of CII therapy are both important variables that determine the impact of the CII therapy on improved outcomes. Perioperative hyperglycemia in cardiac surgery patients adversely alters mortality, LOS, and infection rates. CII eliminate the increased risks of these complications previously seen in diabetic patients. CII protocols are the standard-of-care for glycometabolic control in cardiac surgery patients.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Blood Glucose / drug effects
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Diabetes Complications / blood
  • Diabetes Complications / mortality
  • Diabetes Complications / prevention & control*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus / drug therapy*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / mortality
  • Heart Diseases / mortality
  • Heart Diseases / surgery
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Infusions, Intravenous
  • Injections, Subcutaneous
  • Insulin / administration & dosage
  • Insulin / therapeutic use*
  • Length of Stay
  • Mediastinitis / etiology
  • Mediastinitis / mortality
  • Oregon
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surgical Wound Infection / etiology
  • Surgical Wound Infection / mortality


  • Blood Glucose
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Insulin