Hyperglycemia is associated with increased risk of morbidity and mortality after colectomy for cancer

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Journal of the American College of Surgeons








The relationship of hyperglycemia to general surgery outcomes is not well-understood. We studied the association of operative day and postoperative day 1 (POD1) blood glucose (BG) with outcomes after open colectomy for cancer. We retrospectively analyzed the 2000-2005 Veterans Affairs Surgical Quality Improvement Program database, linked with Veterans Affairs Decision Support System BG values. Median BG was categorized as hypoglycemic (<80 mg/dL); normoglycemic (BG 80-120 mg/dL); or mildly (BG 121-160 mg/dL), moderately (BG 161-200 mg/dL), or severely (BG >200 mg/dL) hyperglycemic. The relationship of BG to postoperative outcomes was assessed with multivariable logistic regression. We identified 9,638 colectomies. We excluded 511 procedures for emergency status or preoperative coma, mechanical ventilation, or sepsis. After excluding patients without recorded BG, we analyzed operative day and POD1 BG in 7,576 and 5,773 procedures, respectively. On multivariable analysis, operative day moderate hyperglycemia was associated with surgical site infection (odds ratio = 1.44; 95% CI, 1.10-1.87). POD1 severe hyperglycemia was associated with cardiac arrest (odds ratio = 2.31; 95% CI, 1.08-4.98) and death (odds ratio = 1.97; 95% CI, 1.23-3.15). POD1 mild (odds ratio = 2.20; 95% CI, 1.05-4.60), moderate (odds ratio = 3.44; 95% CI, 1.51-7.84), and severe (odds ratio = 3.94; 95% CI, 1.64-9.58) hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia (odds ratio = 6.74; 95% CI, 1.75-25.97) were associated with myocardial infarction. Associations were similar in diabetic and nondiabetic patients. Even mild hyperglycemia was associated with adverse outcomes after colectomy, suggesting that a perioperative BG target of 80 to 120 mg/dL, although avoiding hypoglycemia, might be appropriate. Randomized clinical trials are needed to confirm these findings. © 2012 American College of Surgeons.

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