Purpose: Diabetes mellitus represents an increasing problem for patients and health care systems worldwide. We sought to investigate the effect of diabetes and its associated comorbidities on long-term survival and quality of life following an admission to a medical intensive care unit (ICU).
Methods: A total of 6662 consecutive patients admitted to ICU between 2004 and 2009 were included (patients with diabetes n=796, non-diabetic patients n=5866). The primary endpoint of the study was death of any cause. Data on mortality was collected upon review of medical records or phone interviews. Moreover, a questionnaire was sent to 500 randomly selected patients addressing Health related Quality of Life (HrQoL) after ICU treatment.
Results: Overall mortality did not differ significantly between diabetic and non-diabetic patients after ICU treatment (mean follow-up time: 490 days). For a subgroup of patients already exhibiting comorbidities associated with diabetes, the mortality rate was significantly higher (p=0.022). Regarding quality of life, no differences were found between groups.
Conclusions: Diabetes was not associated with increased mortality or reduced quality of life in a general population of medical ICU patients. However, once comorbidities associated with diabetes occurred, the survival rate of patients with comorbidities associated with hyperglycemia was significantly reduced.
Keywords: Critically ill; Diabetes mellitus; Follow-up; Intensive care; Quality of life.
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