NICE-SUGAR: Intensive versus Conventional Glucose Control
In critically ill adults that are expected to be in Intensive Care for 3 days or more, does intensively controlled blood glucose compared to conventionally controlled blood glucose reduce mortality at 90 days?
Type of Trial: RCT
Blinding: Treating clinicians were not blinded
Setting: 38 academic tertiary care hospitals and 4 community hospitals from Dec 2004 to Nov 2008
Intention to treat analysis: yes
6,104/40,171 screened patients expected to require 3 or more days of care on an ICU, with an arterial line to allow blood sampling
Admitted for DKA or hyperosmolar state; expected to be eating by day 3; high-risk of hypoglycaemia such as insulin-secreting tumour or fulminant liver failure
Intesive glucose control with goal blood glucose level between 4.5 and 6.0 mmol/L (81 and 108 mg/dL)
Insulin in saline was administered to keep glucose less than 6.0 mmol/L (108 mg/dL)
This was titrated to blood glucose, and stopped if it fell below 4.5 mmol/L (81 mg/dL)
The intervention was stopped when patients were eating, discharged from ICU, deceased or 90 after randomisation
97.2% required insulin during the trial
Mean time-weighted blood glucose level was 6.4 mmol/L (115 mg/dL).
Conventional-control: control of blood glucose to a level less than 10.0 mmol/L (180mg/dL)
Insulin in saline was administered to keep glucose less than 10.0 mmol/L (180 mg/dL)
This was titrated to blood glucose, and stopped if it fell below 8.0 mmol/L (144 mg/dL)
69.0% required insulin during the trial
Mean time-weighted blood glucose level was 8.0 mmol/L (144 mg/dL).
Primary outcome: There was a statistically significant difference in 90-day mortality that favoured conventional-control.
Absolute difference: 2.6% (95% CI 0.4-4.8)
Odds ration for death with intensive control: 1.14 (95% CI 1.02-1.29; p=0.02)
No difference in
the mortality rate at 28 days
the median length of stay in ICU or hospital
the development of new organ failure
the number of days of mechanical ventilation or renal replacement therapy
the rates of red-cell tranfusion or positive blood culture
a significant difference in
the incidence of severe hypoglycaemia (6.8% in intensive-control; 0.5% in conventional-control)
n this large, international, randomized trial, we found that intensive glucose control increased mortality among adults in the ICU: a blood glucose target of 180 mg or less per deciliter resulted in lower mortality than did a target of 81 to 108 mg per deciliter.
Well designed, pragmatic study designed to answer a clinically relevant research question.
2.4% withdrew consent and 0.3% were lost-to-follow-up: negligible attrition bias.
99.5% were administered the correct management according to the study algorith: stengthens the internal validity (accuracy) of the results.
The treatment was discontinued prematurely in 10.0% of patients in the intervention group and 7.4% in the conventional-control group. The most common reasons were physician decision or a change to palliative care. This difference may have introduced bias to the results, especially as the clinicians were unblinded. These rates are lower than the primary outcome incidence, and are therefore unlikely to change the direction of the primary outcome, but may have exaggerated the effect size.
More patients in the intensive-control group received corticosteroids (34.6% vs 31.7%; p=0.02). This may affect the measured outcome, but predicting how and to what extent is not possible.
The median blood glucose level achieved in the intensive-control group was 6.4 mmol/L, which is above the target range of 4.5 to 6.0 mmol/L. This demonstrates the difficulty in achieving this target range, and it may reduce the observed difference between the two groups.
The majority of patients received nutrition via enteral feeding routes, perhaps reducing generalisability to patients being fed parenterally.
The authors do not attempt to explain why there was a difference in mortality at 90 days, but not at 28 days. Why should intensive-control of blood glucose have a harmful effect on late survival odds?
In critically ill patients this demonstrates a BG<180 has better survivial
Strong internal validity - can be used in most developed countries