, Volume 48, Issue 7, pp 531-536
Date: 26 Jul 2011

Treating hyperglycemia in the critically ill child: Is there enough evidence?

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Need and purpose of review

Hyperglycemia is prevalent among critically ill pediatric patients. Previously thought to be an adaptive response to stress, hyperglycemia is now recognized to be associated with an adverse outcome. Correction of such hyperglycemia with insulin infusion has been shown to improve outcome but carries risk of hypoglycemia. This review addresses these issues related to treatment of hyperglycemia.


A Pubmed search was performed using the search strategy: (hyperglycemia OR blood glucose OR insulin therapy) AND (critical illness OR critical care OR intensive care unit). Randomized controlled trials, clinical trials, meta-analysis and observational studies (adult and pediatric) published in the last 10 years were included.


Blood sugar monitoring and correction of hyperglycemia while caring for critically ill children is crucial. A modest blood glucose target of <150 mg/dL is appropriate. Providing adequate nutrition along with training of the nursing personnel would prevent any adverse effect such as hypoglycemia.