Update on inpatient glycemic control in hospitals in the United States

Endocr Pract. 2011 Nov-Dec;17(6):853-61. doi: 10.4158/EP11042.OR.


Objective: To provide data on glucose control in hospitals in the United States, analyzing measurements from the largest number of facilities to date.

Methods: Point-of-care bedside glucose (POC-BG) test results were extracted from 575 hospitals from January 2009 to December 2009 by using a laboratory information management system. Glycemic control for patients in the intensive care unit (ICU) and non-ICU areas was assessed by calculating patient-day-weighted mean POC-BG values and rates of hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia. The relationship between POC-BG levels and hospital characteristics was determined.

Results: A total of 49,191,313 POC-BG measurements (12,176,299 ICU and 37,015,014 non-ICU values) were obtained from 3,484,795 inpatients (653,359 in the ICU and 2,831,436 in non-ICU areas). The mean POC-BG was 167 mg/dL for ICU patients and 166 mg/dL for non-ICU patients. The prevalence of hyperglycemia (>180 mg/dL) was 32.2% of patient-days for ICU patients and 32.0% of patient-days for non-ICU patients. The prevalence of hypoglycemia (<70 mg/dL) was 6.3% of patient-days for ICU patients and 5.7% of patient-days for non-ICU patients. Patient-day-weighted mean POC-BG levels varied on the basis of hospital size (P<.01), type (P<.01), and geographic location (P<.01) for ICU and non-ICU patients, with larger hospitals (≥400 beds), academic hospitals, and US hospitals in the West having the lowest mean POC-BG values. The percentage of patient-days in the ICU characterized by hypoglycemia was highest among larger and academic hospitals (P<.05) and least among hospitals in the Northeast (P<.001).

Conclusion: Hyperglycemia is common in hospitals in the United States, and glycemic control may vary on the basis of hospital characteristics. Increased hospital participation in data collection may support a national benchmarking process for the development of optimal practices to manage inpatient hyperglycemia.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Clinical Laboratory Information Systems
  • Female
  • Hospital Bed Capacity
  • Hospitals, Community
  • Hospitals, Teaching
  • Humans
  • Hyperglycemia / blood
  • Hyperglycemia / epidemiology
  • Hyperglycemia / prevention & control*
  • Hypoglycemia / blood
  • Hypoglycemia / epidemiology
  • Hypoglycemia / prevention & control*
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Rural Health
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Urban Health


  • Blood Glucose