Benefits of a simple glycaemic protocol in an orthopaedic surgery ward: a randomized prospective study

Diabetes Metab Res Rev. 2012 Jan;28(1):71-5. doi: 10.1002/dmrr.1217.


Background: Hyperglycaemia and diabetes mellitus are common in patients hospitalized in the orthopaedic surgery ward. However, glycaemic control obtained during hospitalization is often suboptimal. No method for achieving adequate glycaemic control in this population has been validated in an in-hospital setting.

Intervention: An intervention including an intensive subcutaneous insulin protocol in the orthopaedic department.

Methods: All diabetic patients admitted to the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery were prospectively randomized during a 6-month period. One group (n = 30) received standard care with sliding scale insulin and the other group (n = 35) received the intervention protocol. During the intervention period, the staff was briefed on the importance of glucose monitoring and control. An intensive multiple-injection protocol consisting of four daily regular/neutral protamine hagedorn (NPH) insulin injections was initiated in diabetic patients. The programme was followed up by a consulting diabetologist.

Results: Mean blood glucose levels throughout the hospitalization were 161.48 ± 3.8 mg/dL in the intervention group versus 175.29 ± 2.3 mg/dL in the control group (p < 0.0005). Hospitalization was shorter by 2 days in the intervention group (p < 0.05). The number of severe hyperglycaemic events (blood glucose level above 400 mg%) was significantly lower (p < 0.05) in the intervention group. There was no significant difference in the number of hypoglycaemic events.

Conclusions: The suggested four-step intervention regimen improved glycaemic control of hospitalized patients in the orthopaedic department and simplified the 'in-house' treatment of the diabetic patient. Hospital stays were reduced on average by two days (p < 0.05).

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Blood Glucose / drug effects
  • Clinical Protocols / standards
  • Diabetes Mellitus / drug therapy*
  • Female
  • Health Personnel / education
  • Humans
  • Hyperglycemia / drug therapy*
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Inpatients
  • Insulin / administration & dosage*
  • Insulin, Isophane / administration & dosage*
  • Male
  • Orthopedic Procedures
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Prospective Studies


  • Blood Glucose
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Insulin
  • Insulin, Isophane