The effect of diabetes on burn patients: a retrospective cohort study Journal Articles uri icon

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  • BACKGROUND: Hyperglycemia during the acute phase after burn is associated with increased morbidity and mortality. There is little knowledge regarding the effect of pre-existing hyperglycemia in the form of diabetes on the outcomes after severe burns. The objective is to determine the impact of diabetes on clinical outcomes after burns. METHODS: Single-center cohort study where adult diabetic (n = 76) and non-diabetic (n = 1186) burn patients admitted between 2006 and 2016 were included. Diabetic patients were stratified into those with well-controlled diabetes (n = 24) and poorly controlled diabetes (n = 33) using a HbA1c of 7% as a cutoff; additionally, diabetics were divided into well-controlled glycemia (n = 47) and poorly controlled glycemia (n = 22) based on daily blood glucose measurements during hospitalization. RESULTS: On univariate analysis, diabetics had a significantly increased median length of stay per percent total body surface area burn (2.1 vs. 1.6 days; p = 0.0026) and a greater number of overall morbidity (1.39 ± 1.63 vs. 0.8 ± 1.24; p = 0.001). After adjustment for patient characteristics, diabetics were associated with significantly increased total morbidity (RR 1.5; 95% CI 1.1-1.9). At discharge, almost two thirds of diabetics needed an escalation of anti-diabetic medication and a quarter had newly developed insulin dependency. There were no differences in morbidity or mortality in the diabetic subgroups. CONCLUSIONS: Diabetics had a longer hospitalization and increased morbidity, regardless of the quality of their anti-diabetic therapy prior to injury. Additionally, diabetes in burn patients is associated with an increased risk of total morbidity.


  • Dolp, Reinhard
  • Rehou, Sarah
  • Pinto, Ruxandra
  • Trister, Rachel
  • Jeschke, Marc

publication date

  • December 2019