Frequency of return visits to the emergency department in patients discharged following hypoglycemia episodes.
AuthorBetten, DP; Castle, DJ; Hughes, MJ; Henney, JN
Source TitleInternational Journal of Emergency Medicine
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media LLC
University of Melbourne Author/sCastle, David
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsBetten, D. P., Castle, D. J., Hughes, M. J. & Henney, J. N. (2018). Frequency of return visits to the emergency department in patients discharged following hypoglycemia episodes.. Int J Emerg Med, 11 (1), pp.28-. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12245-018-0186-7.
Access StatusOpen Access
Open Access at PMChttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5968011
BACKGROUND: In-hospital observation is typically recommended for patients who present to the emergency department with symptomatic hypoglycemia who are taking oral diabetes medications or long acting insulin. Individuals considered to be at low risk of further hypoglycemic episodes by treating providers are however on occasion discharged to home when a low suspicion of recurrence and close observation is available. We describe the frequency of hypoglycemia recurrence requiring further emergency department evaluation who have been recently discharged from the emergency department and are taking oral diabetes medications or long-acting insulin. METHODS: A retrospective chart review was performed over a 2-year period of time at a large community-based academic emergency department for patients with an ICD-9 diagnosis of hypoglycemia who were taking oral or injectable diabetes medications. Patients were included with symptomatic blood sugar readings less than 55 mg/dL measured by prehospital or hospital providers. For those discharged from the emergency department, medical records from the study hospital and nearby health care facilities, Emergency Medical Service reports, and county death records were reviewed to determine recurrence of symptoms requiring care. RESULTS: There were 196 patients discharged over the study period with 10 (5.1%) patients returning to the emergency department within 48 h with recurrent hypoglycemia. Return visits occurred in 4 of 144 taking insulin alone; 2.8% (CI 1.1-6.9%), in 3 of 19 patients taking oral agents alone; 15.8% (CI 5.5-37.5%), and in 3 of 33 patients taking both insulin and oral medications; 9.1% (CI 3.1-23.6%). Frequency of hypoglycemia recurrence requiring repeat ED visits was more common in those taking oral agents compared to individuals taking insulin alone (p = 0.04). All 7 individuals with recurrent hypoglycemia who were taking insulin were taking long-acting insulin preparations. No discharged patients were identified on Emergency Medical Service refusal of care reports or county death records. CONCLUSION: Individuals discharged from the emergency department following hypoglycemic episodes who were taking oral diabetes medications are at a greater risk than individuals taking insulin alone of a return emergency department visit within 48 h for recurrent hypoglycemia.
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