Hyperglycemia in the pediatric intensive care unit

Genna W. Klein, Joanne M. Hojsak, Robert Rapaport

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Studies on critically ill adults demonstrate the benefits of glycemic control. There is a paucity of data, however, in pediatric intensive care settings. This review summarizes sentinel papers in the adult literature, outlines mechanisms by which hyperglycemia mediates its effects in the critically ill, highlighting those described in pediatrics, and discusses studies that associate hyperglycemia with negative outcome in critically ill children. RECENT FINDINGS: Retrospective studies and prospective cohort studies have linked hyperglycemia to worse outcome in critically ill children. Investigations in small, homogenous groups, such as trauma, sepsis, burn and neonatal patients, have shown negative associations between hyperglycemia and injury-specific outcomes and have elucidated previously proposed mechanisms of tissue injury in children. In addition, certain properties of hyperglycemia, such as duration, peak, and excursion, may be more relevant than absolute levels of glucose. Larger studies generalize findings to heterogeneous pediatric intensive care populations, across ages and diagnoses. Further, in studies accounting for insulin administration, no obvious increases in hypoglycemia-related morbidity have been noted. SUMMARY: Glucose control in pediatric intensive care has been receiving increasing attention. Large, prospective studies are needed to address certain issues in pediatrics, such as differences in diseases, target values, complications of disease, risks and sequelae of hypoglycemia and logistical challenges.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-192
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Glucose
  • Outcome
  • Pediatric intensive care unit


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