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OBJECTIVE: Hyperglycaemia is associated with increased mortality in critically ill patients. A number of studies have highlighted an association between increased variability of blood glucose (BG) concentration and mortality, supporting a survival disadvantage if BG homeostasis is lost. By exploring the longitudinal BG profile of individual children over time, this study investigates the importance of intact homeostasis early after admission to the paediatric intensive care unit (PICU). DESIGN, SETTING, AND PATIENTS: Retrospective single-centre observational study in a large multi-specialty PICU in the UK. Children admitted between August 2003 and February 2006 were included unless they met exclusion criteria. Data were merged from the PICU clinical database and blood gas analyser database by means of a unique PICU identifier. BG was measured frequently on a blood gas analyser (Bayer Rapidlink). Primary outcome was 100-day mortality. BG parameters were investigated for possible associations with mortality. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: A total of 1,763 patients were included (median age 1.1 years; IQR 0.1-5.8). Although admission BG was not associated with mortality, a survival advantage was found in children who showed a reduction in BG on day 1 relative to the admission BG value (p < 0.001). This remained statistically significant (p = 0.007) after adjusting for severity of illness. CONCLUSIONS: This study supports an association between early BG profile and mortality in children admitted to PICU, with increased survival in those who demonstrate a fall in BG on day 1 relative to PICU admission. These findings are consistent with a survival advantage of intact BG homeostasis.

Original publication




Journal article


Intensive Care Med

Publication Date





123 - 128


Blood Glucose, Critical Care, Critical Illness, Humans, Hyperglycemia, Infant, Longitudinal Studies, Retrospective Studies