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Having heart surgery? Watch your blood sugar, especially if you're overweight or older
Date:6/7/2008

ANN ARBOR, Mich. Nearly half of all heart surgery patients may experience blood sugar levels high enough to require temporary insulin treatment after their operation, even though they've never had diabetes, according to a new study from the University of Michigan Health System.

And a significant minority of those patients might need to take medicines for days or even weeks after they leave the hospital, to help their blood sugar levels reach normal again, the researchers show. Obese patients, older patients, and those whose blood sugar levels were still high two days after their operation are most likely to need this kind of treatment, they find.

Although the study didn't look at whether such patients later developed true diabetes or pre-diabetes, the results are striking enough to warrant a new U-M research project. It will recruit patients before their operations, and will include longer follow-up and more rigorous testing of pre-surgery and post-hospitalization blood sugar levels.

On Sunday at the American Diabetes Association's Scientific Sessions in San Francisco, a U-M team presented their findings in a poster that included retrospective data from 1,362 patients who had certain heart and vascular operations at U-M in 2006 and 2007.

Of them, 662 developed "stress induced hyperglycemia", or high blood sugar after surgery, and 87 needed blood sugar medicines when they left the hospital.

The study was possible because UMHS has a dedicated team of physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners called the Hospital Intensive Insulin Program who look for and treat elevated blood sugar in all heart and vascular surgery patients. Led by U-M endocrinologist Roma Gianchandani, M.D., the team gives insulin and oral medicines during these patients' hospital stays, and prescribes medicines for the patients to take at home. They also recommend that such patients receive further blood-sugar testing from their p
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Contact: Kara Gavin
kegavin@umich.edu
734-764-2220
University of Michigan Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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