Inpatient hyperglycemia management is essential, but difficult to achieve especially in a large volume cardiac surgery setup, thus necessitating use of nurse-led insulin protocols. A rapid flux of nurses dealing with a huge workload has been a cause for traditionally not using nurse-led protocols in most Indian institutes. The challenges we faced were to have a simple protocol for the nurses to accept it without compromising on glycemic control. Therefore, this observational study was planned to measure the efficacy and safety of the insulin infusion protocol in cardiac surgery patients.
MATERIALS AND METHODS:
Insulin protocol was implemented, using seven fixed columns of infusion with the nurse making decisions to initiate and titrate doses based on simple rules. Blood glucose (BG) data captured from blood gas analyzers (glucometrics) in the intervention group (i.e., after protocol implementation) were compared to control group (i.e., before the protocol implementation).
The mean BG for the first 48 h was lower in the intervention group as compared to control group, without an increase in the episodes of hypoglycemia. The nurses found the protocol easy to understand, less time-consuming and there was no protocol deviation over 8 months after implementation.
A small change in the process, allowing nurses to titrate insulin doses based on some rules and having seven fixed columns of insulin infusion rates, improved glycemic control and efficiency.