Purpose of review: To provide an update on the currently available insulin infusion protocols for treatment of hyperglycemia in critically ill patients and to discuss the major differences and similarities among them.
Recent findings: We identified a total of 26 protocols, 20 of which used manual blood-glucose calculations, and six that used computerized algorithms. The major differences and similarities among the insulin infusion protocols were in the following areas: patient characteristics, target glucose level, time to achieve target glucose level, incidence of hypoglycemia, rationale for adjusting the rates of insulin infusion, and methods of blood-glucose measurements. Several computerized protocols hold promise for safer achievement of glycemic targets.
Summary: Insulin infusion is the most effective method for controlling hyperglycemia in critically ill patients. Clinicians should utilize a validated insulin infusion protocol that is well tolerated, and is most appropriate and practical for their institution based on the resources that are available.