Hyperglycemia and insulin infusion in pancreatoduodenectomy: a prospective cohort study on feasibility and impact on complications

Int J Surg. 2023 Dec 1;109(12):3770-3777. doi: 10.1097/JS9.0000000000000714.


Background: Hyperglycemia is a risk factor for postoperative complications but its impact on outcome after pancreatoduodenectomy (PD) is scarcely studied. This prospective cohort study aimed to assess the effect of continuous insulin infusion on postoperative complications and blood glucose, as well as to evaluate the impact of hyperglycemia on complications, after PD.

Materials and methods: One hundred patients planned for PD at Skåne University Hospital, Sweden were prospectively included for perioperative continuous insulin infusion and a historic cohort of 100 patients was included retrospectively. Median blood glucose levels were calculated and data on complications were analyzed and compared between the historic cohort and the intervention group as well as between normo- and hyperglycemic patients.

Results: Median glucose levels were significantly lower in the intervention group compared to the historic cohort up to 30 days postoperatively (median glucose 8.5 mmol/l (interquartile range 6.4-11) vs. 9.1 mmol/l (interquartile range 6.8-17) ( P =0.007)). No significant differences in complication rates were recorded between these two groups. The incidence of complications classified as Clavien ≥3 was higher in hyperglycemic patients (100 vs. 27%, P =0.024). Among hyperglycemic patients the prevalence of preoperative diabetes was higher compared to normoglycemic patients (52 vs.12%, P <0.001). In patients with a known diagnosis of diabetes, a trend, although not statistically significant, towards a lower incidence of postoperative pancreatic fistula grade B and C, as well as postpancreatectomy hemorrhage grade B and C, was seen compared to those without preoperative diabetes (6.8 vs. 14%, P =0.231 and 2.3 vs. 7.0%, P =0.238, respectively).

Conclusion: Insulin infusion in the early postoperative phase after PD is feasible in a non-ICU setting and significantly decreased blood glucose levels. The influence on complications was limited. Preoperative diabetes was a significant predictor of postoperative hyperglycemia and was associated with a lower incidence of clinically significant postoperative pancreatic fistula.

MeSH terms

  • Blood Glucose
  • Diabetes Mellitus* / drug therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus* / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus* / etiology
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Humans
  • Hyperglycemia* / epidemiology
  • Hyperglycemia* / etiology
  • Insulin
  • Pancreatic Fistula / epidemiology
  • Pancreatic Fistula / etiology
  • Pancreaticoduodenectomy / adverse effects
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Blood Glucose
  • Insulin