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Medicina crítica (Colegio Mexicano de Medicina Crítica)

versão impressa ISSN 2448-8909


CRUZ GOMEZ, Lida Montserrat et al. Glycemic variability in critically ill patients: the management should be customized. Med. crít. (Col. Mex. Med. Crít.) [online]. 2017, vol.31, n.2, pp.78-83. ISSN 2448-8909.


The three domains of glycemic control (hypoglycemia, hyperglycemia and glycemic variability) comprise a conceptual framework for reducing the risk associated with it during critical illness. However, the premorbid component is usually not taken into account. It has been shown that those patients with chronic hyperglycemia could benefit from more liberal glycemic goals, contrary to what has been shown in patients with good premorbid glycemic control.

Material and methods:

By using the glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) and predicted glucose of the previous 90 days, a formula of «relative glycemic variability» (RGV) in critically ill adult patients was developed. Then, using the capillary glucose values, events of hypoglycemia were obtained, as well as mean capillary glucose, RGV and coefficient of variation (CV) during the first seven days of stay. The population was divided into HbA1c < 7% and ≥ 7%, as well as in alive and deceased; the variables between them captured and calculated were compared.


Using the glycemic control protocol, HbA1c ≥ 7% patients maintained a negative RGV, that is, lower values than usual; the group < 7% kept a positive RV, higher than usual. The first group showed a prolonged hospital stay, nine versus seven days (p < 0.05), and those deceased and with HbA1c < 7% showed a higher CV (p < 0.05), 27.49 (11.02-37.07) versus 12.49 (8.2-8.75); such association was not observed in the group of patients ≥ 7%.


Negative RGV in relation to premorbid control shows negative effects on the evolution of patients with poor previous glycemic control; at the same time, a greater CV showed its negative effect in patients with good previous control. It is reasserted that, in relation to glycemic control, «one size does not fit all».

Palavras-chave : Glycemic variability; glycemic control; critically ill patient.

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