More Guidance on Inpatient Management of Blood Glucose in COVID-19
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More Guidance on Inpatient Management of Blood Glucose in COVID-19

Editor’s note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape’s  Coronavirus Resource Center.

New guidance is available for managing inpatient hyperglycemia and diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) in COVID-19 patients with diabetes using subcutaneous insulin.

“The glycemic management of many COVID-19 positive patients with diabetes is proving extremely complex, with huge fluctuations in glucose control and the need for very high doses of insulin,” says Diabetes UK’s National Diabetes Inpatient COVID Response Team.

“Intravenous infusion pumps, also required for inotropes, are at a premium and there may be the need to consider the use of subcutaneous or intramuscular insulin protocols,” they note.

Updated as of April 29, all of the information of the National Diabetes Inpatient COVID Response Teamis available on the Diabetes UK website.

The new inpatient management graphic adds more detail to the previous “front-door” guidance, as reported by Medscape Medical News.

The document stressed that as well as identifying patients with known diabetes, it is imperative that all newly admitted patients with COVID-19 are evaluated for diabetes, as the infection is known to cause new-onset diabetes.

Subcutaneous Insulin Dosing

The new graphic gives extensive details on subcutaneous insulin dosing in place of variable rate intravenous insulin when infusion pumps are not available, and when the patient has a glucose level above 12 mmol/L (216 mg/dL) but does not have DKA or hyperosmolar hyperglycemic state.

However, the advice is not intended for people with COVID-19 causing severe insulin resistance in the intensive care unit.

The other new guidance graphic on managing DKA or hyperosmolar state in people with COVID-19 using subcutaneous insulin is also intended for situations where intravenous infusion isn’t available.

Seek Help From Specialist Diabetes Team When Needed

This is not to be used for mixed DKA/hyperosmolar state or for patients who are pregnant, have severe metabolic derangement, other significant comorbidity, or impaired consciousness, however.

For those situations, the advice is to seek help from a specialist diabetes team, says Diabetes UK.

Specialist teams will be available to answer diabetes queries, both by signposting to relevant existing local documents and also by providing patient-specific advice.

Indeed, NHS England recommends that such a team be available in every hospital, with a lead consultant designated each day to co-ordinate these services who must be free of other clinical duties when doing so. The role involves co-ordination of the whole service from the emergency department through to liaison with other specialties and managers.

Also newly updated is a page with extensive information for patients, including advice for staying at home, medication use, self-isolating, shielding, hospital and doctor appointments, need for urgent medical advice, and going to the hospital.

It also covers how coronavirus can affect people with diabetes, children and school, pregnancy, work situations, and tips for picking up prescriptions.

Another, shorter document with COVID-19 advice for patients has been posted by the JDRF and Beyond Type 1 Alliance.

It has also been endorsed by the American Diabetes Association, Harvard Medical School, and International Society for Pediatric and Adolescent Diabetes, in partnership with many other professional organizations, including the International Diabetes Federation, American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, and Association of Diabetes Care & Education Specialists.

The shorter document covers topics such as personal hygiene, distancing, diabetes management, and seeking treatment, as well as links to other resources on what to do when health insurance is lost and legal rights.

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