A replicable method for blood glucose control in critically Ill patients

Alan H. Morris, James Orme, Jonathon D. Truwit, Jay Steingrub, Colin Grissom, Kang H. Lee, Guoliang L. Li, B. Taylor Thompson, Roy Brower, Mark Tidswell, Gordon R. Bernard, Dean Sorenson, Katherine Sward, Hui Zheng, David Schoenfeld, Homer Warner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


CONTEXT:: To ensure interpretability and replicability of clinical experiments, methods must be adequately explicit and should elicit the same decision from different clinicians who comply with the study protocol. OBJECTIVE:: The objective of this study was to determine whether clinician compliance with protocol recommendations exceeds 90%. DESIGN:: We developed an adequately explicit computerized protocol (eProtocol-insulin) for managing critically ill adult patient blood glucose. We monitored clinician compliance with eProtocol-insulin recommendations in four intensive care units in four hospitals and compared blood glucose distributions with those of a simple clinical guideline at one hospital and a paper-based protocol at another. All protocols and the guideline used intravenous insulin and 80 to 110 mg/dL (4.4-6.1 mmol/L) blood glucose targets. SETTING:: The setting for this study was four academic hospital intensive care units. PATIENTS:: This study included critically ill adults requiring intravenous insulin. INTERVENTION:: Intervention used in this study was a bedside computerized protocol for managing blood glucose. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE:: The main outcome measure was clinician compliance with eProtocol-insulin recommendations. RESULTS:: The number of patients was 31 to 458 and the number of blood glucose measurements was 2,226 to 19,925 among the four intensive care units. Clinician compliance with eProtocol-insulin recommendations was 91% to 98%. Blood glucose distributions were similar in the four hospitals (generalized linear model p = .18). Compared with the simple guideline, eProtocol-insulin glucose measurements within target increased from 21% to 39%, and mean blood glucose decreased from 142 to 115 mg/dL (generalized linear model p < .001). Compared with the paper-based protocol, eProtocol-insulin glucose measurements within target increased from 28% to 42%, and mean blood glucose decreased from 134 to 116 mg/dL (generalized linear model p = .001). CONCLUSIONS:: The 91% to 98% clinician compliance indicates eProtocol-insulin is an exportable instrument that can establish a replicable experimental method for clinical trials of blood glucose management in critically ill adults. Control of blood glucose was better with eProtocol-insulin than with a simple clinical guideline or a paper-based protocol.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1787-1795
Number of pages9
JournalCritical care medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2008


  • Blood glucose
  • Clinical
  • Clinical protocols
  • Decision support systems
  • Human
  • Insulin
  • Research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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