Objectives: The objectives of this study were to describe the characteristics, management, and outcomes of patients treated by paramedics for hypoglycemia, and to determine the predictors of hospital admission for these patients within 72 hours of the initial hypoglycemia event.
Methods: We performed a health record review of paramedic call reports and emergency department records over a 12-month period. We queried prehospital databases to identify cases, which included all patients ⩾18 years with prehospital glucose readings of <72 mg/dl (<4.0 mmol/L) and excluded terminally ill and cardiac arrest patients. We developed and piloted a standardized data collection tool and obtained consensus on all data definitions before initiation of data extraction by trained investigators. Data analyses included descriptive statistics univariate and logistic regression presented as adjusted odds ratios (aOR) with 95% confidence intervals (95%CI).
Results: There were 791 patients with the following characteristics: mean age 56.2, male 52.3%, type 1 diabetes 11.6%, on insulin 43.3%, median initial glucose 54.0 mg/dl (3.0 mmol/L), from home 56.4%. They were treated by advanced care paramedics 80.1%, received intravenous D50 37.8%, intramuscular glucagon 17.8%, oral complex carbs/protein 25.7%, and accepted transport to hospital 70.2%. Among those transported, 134 (24.3%) were initially admitted and four more were admitted within 72 hours. One patient was admitted, discharged, and admitted again within 72 hours. Patients without documented histories of diabetes (aOR 2.35, CI 1.13-4.86), with cardiovascular disease (aOR 1.81, CI 1.10-3.00), on corticosteroids (aOR 4.63, CI 2.15-9.96), on oral hypoglycemic agent(s) (aOR 1.92, CI 1.02-3.62), or those given glucagon (aOR 1.77, CI 1.07-2.93) on scene were more likely to be admitted to hospital, whereas patients on insulin (aOR 0.49, CI 0.27-0.91), able to tolerate complex oral carbs/protein (aOR 0.22, CI 0.10-0.48), with final GCS scores of 15 (aOR 0.53, CI 0.34-0.83), or from public locations (aOR 0.40, CI 0.21-0.75) were less likely to be admitted.
Conclusions: There are several patient and prehospital management characteristics which, in combination, could be incorporated into a safe clinical decision tool for patients who present with hypoglycemia.