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Studies have already shown that people with diabetes do worse than non-diabetics after being hospitalized for stroke, heart attack, and heart surgery. Now researchers have found that they do worse after being hospitalized for trauma (a physical injury) as well.
A comparison of 12,489 patients with diabetes against 12,489 similar patients without diabetes, all of whom were hospitalized for trauma between 1984 and 2002, found that trauma patients with diabetes spend over a day longer in the intensive care unit than non-diabetics, stay on ventilators over two days longer, and are more likely to have complications during their hospital stay.
People with diabetes don't stay any longer in the hospital itself than non-diabetics, and they aren't any more likely to die during their stay, which is reassuring. However, they are more likely to require skilled nursing care after their hospital stay than those without diabetes.
The authors did not know whether the worse outcomes for people with diabetes were due to immune system alterations, poor sugar control while hospitalized, or pre-existing health problems. They noted that further study is needed to evaluate the potential benefits of tight blood sugar control on the outcomes of diabetic patients who are hospitalized for trauma.
JAMA Archives of Surgery, July 2007
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