(HealthDay News) — The measurement of blood glucose levels in patients arriving at emergency departments (EDs) with acute heart failure could provide useful prognostic information and help improve outcomes in these patients, according to new research published in the European Heart Journal.
Douglas Lee, MD, PhD, senior scientist at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences and an associate professor of medicine at the University of Toronto, and colleagues reviewed data on 16,524 patients, aged 70 to 85 years, treated for acute heart failure at hospital EDs in Ontario, Canada, between 2004 and 2007.
The researchers found that among patients with no prior diagnosis of diabetes, the risk for death within a month was 26% higher among patients with slightly elevated blood glucose levels compared with those with normal blood glucose levels.
People whose blood glucose levels were nearly high enough to meet the criteria for a diabetes diagnosis had a 50% higher risk for death within a month compared with those with normal blood glucose levels.
The risk for death from cardiovascular disease (CVD) was also higher among those who had raised blood glucose readings, even if they were just slightly raised above normal. Anyone whose blood glucose levels were above normal also had an increased risk for developing diabetes later, with higher reading correlating with higher risk.
People with pre-existing diabetes were also more likely to die within a month if their blood glucose levels were above 11.1 mmol/L (200 mg/dL) when they arrived at the ED. They were also more likely to be hospitalized for diabetes-related complications if their blood glucose levels were much higher than normal.
People with and without pre-existing diabetes had a greater risk for hospitalization for heart failure or CV problems if their blood glucose levels were elevated above normal.