Background: The prevalence of hypoglycemia is increasing due to the growing incidence of diabetes and the latest strict guidelines for glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) levels under 7%. This study examined the clinical characteristics, causal factors, and medical costs of severely hypoglycemic patients in an emergency room (ER) of Uijeongbu St. Mary's Hospital.
Methods: The study consisted of a retrospective analysis of the characteristics, risk factors, and medical costs of 320 severely hypoglycemic patients with diabetes who presented to an ER of Uijeongbu St. Mary's Hospital from January 1, 2006 to December 31, 2009.
Results: Most hypoglycemic patients (87.5%, 280/320) were over 60 years old with a mean age of 69.5±10.9 years and a mean HbA1c level of 6.95±1.46%. Mean serum glucose as noted in the ER was 37.9±34.5 mg/dL. Renal function was decreased, serum creatinine was 2.0±2.1 mg/dL and estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) was 48.0±33.6 mL/min/1.73 m(2). In addition, hypoglycemic patients typically were taking sulfonylureas or insulin and a variety of other medications, and had a long history of diabetes.
Conclusion: Severe hypoglycemia is frequent in older diabetic patients, subjects with low HbA1c levels, and nephropathic patients. Therefore, personalized attention is warranted, especially in long-term diabetics with multiple comorbidities who may not have been properly educated or may need re-education for hypoglycemia.
Keywords: Cost; Diabetes mellitus; Health; Hypoglycemia.