Burden of diabetes in cancer inpatients

Shitij Kapoor, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Inpatient hyperglycemia has been shown to be associated with higher morbidity and mortality. Treatment of inpatient hyperglycemia reduces morbidity and mortality at least in the intensive care unit. Burden and severity of hyperglycemia in an inpatient population of a cancer center is not known. The study is a secondary analysis of the primary study 'Prevalence of Diabetes in cancer inpatient'. Finger-stick glucose concentration and pharmacy data were collected prospectively for all hospitalizations to a large cancer center. Demographic, clinical and laboratory data were collected in a retrospective fashion. Between May 1 and July 31, 2006; 3,940 patients were admitted 5,489 times. Prior to their first admissions, 920(23.4%) of the 3940 patients had unrecognized or recognized hyperglycemia. Glucose was never tested during 1714 (31.8%) hospitalizations, including 170 (12%) of the 1414 admissions of the 920 patients with previous hyperglycemia, and, 109 (58%) of 188 patients who were not tested for glucose prior to their index admissions. Overall, sustained significant hyperglycemia (>= 200 mg/dL on two separate days) was present in 765 (13.9%). Antidiabetic treatment was dispensed in 1168 (21.3%), though 627 (53.7%) of these received only short/rapid acting insulin, and, 951 (17.3%)diabetes code before and in another 80 (1.5%) during stay in hospital, out of total 5489 admissions. Therefore diabetes mellitus or hyperglycemia affected 1525 (27.8%) out of all admissions and coding alone as a criterion for diagnosis of hyperglycemia would have underreported it by 32%. Hyperglycemia occurred more commonly during hospitalization of patients with older age, males, ethnic minorities, advanced malignancies, and those receiving glucocorticoids, parenteral nutrition, and those who had a past history of coding for diabetes or past hyperglycemia, but not in those with the cancers reported to be associated with diabetes mellitus. Of the recognized diabetics half had sustained significant hyperglycemia and 10% had three quarters glucoses tested above 180 mg/dL. To conclude, diabetes affects at least 27.8% of inpatients at our cancer center. Coding for diabetes significantly underreports the burden of the disease. Significant sustained hyperglycemia of >=200 mg/dL among inpatients at a cancer center is common, under-recognized, and either untreated or inadequately treated with suboptimal glycemic control. The implications of hyperglycemia in cancer inpatient populations need further investigations. Fasting serum or plasma glucose should be checked routinely for every patient admitted to a cancer hospital, to recognize and treat hyperglycemia as clinically appropriate.

Subject Area

Public health

Recommended Citation

Kapoor, Shitij, "Burden of diabetes in cancer inpatients" (2009). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1467406.