Out-of-Hospital Management of Diabetic Emergencies in Germany: Structural and Process Quality

Exp Clin Endocrinol Diabetes. 2021 Jul 20. doi: 10.1055/a-1523-7562. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Aims: To collect and analyse representative data of structural and process quality in the management of diabetic emergencies in Germany in 2020.

Methods: A standardised questionnaire comprising detailed items concerning clinically relevant parameters on the structural and process quality of out-of-hospital management of diabetic emergencies was sent nationwide to medical directors of emergency medical service districts (EMSDs). Results were compared with those from a similar study conducted in 2001.

Results: The return rate of the questionnaires represented 126 EMSDs, serving a total population of > 40.1 million. Only 4% of ambulances carried glucagon (6% in 2001). In 2020, blood glucose determination increased significantly to 71% of all emergency interventions and to 29% of suspected cardiac emergencies (24% and 15%, respectively, in 2001). In 100% of EMSDs severe hypoglycaemia (SH) was treated by paramedics by administering intravenous dextrose before the arrival of a doctor compared to 63% in 2001. The potential value of nasal glucagon was acknowledged by 43% of responders. In selected patients, treatment of SH was conducted without hospital admission in 78% of EMDs (60% in 2001). Fifty-three percent of medical directors acknowledged the need for further training in diabetic emergencies (47% in 2001). Cooperation for medical education between emergency teams and a diabetes centre was reported by 14% (41% in 2001).

Conclusion: Structural and process quality of the management of diabetic emergencies in Germany has improved considerably since 2001. Persisting deficiencies could be improved by providing better medical equipment in ambulances and ongoing education to the entire emergency teams.