In-patient management of diabetes: Controversies and guidelines

Indian J Endocrinol Metab. 2013 Dec;17(Suppl 3):S630-5. doi: 10.4103/2230-8210.123554.


Hyperglycemia is associated with adverse outcomes in hospitalized patients with and without previously known diabetes. Some therapies that are used in the in-patient setting, including glucocorticoids, enteral and parenteral nutrition are associated with new onset hyperglycemia even in previously normoglycemic patients. Current guidelines advise that fasting and premeal blood glucose (BG) be maintained at < 140 mg/dl, with maximal random BG < 180 mg/dl in non-critically ill-patients. In critically ill-patients, intravenous (IV) insulin infusion therapy with BG targets of 140-180 effectively maintains glycemic control with a low risk for hypoglycemia. Protocols targeting "tight" glycemic control, defined as BG 80-110 mg/dl, are no longer recommended due to the high frequency of severe hypoglycemia. Rational use of basal bolus insulin (BBI) regimens in non-critical care and IV insulin infusions in critical care settings has been demonstrated to effectively achieve and maintain recommended BG targets with low risk for hypoglycemia. The safety of BBI relies upon provider awareness of prescribing recommendations for initiating and adjusting insulin regimens according to changes in overall clinical and nutritional status, as well as careful review of daily BG measurements. Smooth transition of care to the out-patient setting is facilitated by providing oral and written instructions regarding the timing and dosing of insulin as well as education in basic skills for home management.

Keywords: Diabetes mellitus; hospitals; hyperglycemia; in-patients; insulin.

Publication types

  • Review