Hyperglycaemia in COVID-19: improving recognition and management in a single centre





COVID-19, diabetes mellitus, hyperglycaemia, glycaemic control, quality improvement


Background: Hyperglycaemia is a recognised complication of COVID-19 disease and is associated with increased morbidity and mortality. Effects are noted in individuals with and without diabetes and potentiated by the use of recognised COVID-19 treatments such as corticosteroids. Early glycaemic control in the inpatient with COVID-19 disease impacts significantly on outcomes.

Methods: A three-phase improvement project evaluated the recognition and management of hyperglycaemia in 120 adult inpatients with COVID-19 disease over a 4-month period. A local guideline and a separate acute care ‘bundle’ were implemented to improve performance. The main outcomes of the project were evaluated in a repeated cross- sectional design; assessing the performance of regular capillary blood glucose monitoring and appropriate treatment of hyperglycaemia where indicated.

Results: Prior to intervention, 78.6% of patients had appropriate capillary blood glucose monitoring and no patients were deemed to receive appropriate treatment. Following interventions, 83–100% of patients had appropriate monitoring and 75–100% received appropriate treatment.

Conclusions: In this setting, implementation of a guideline and a care bundle contributed towards improved recognition and management of hyperglycaemia in patients with COVID-19 disease. Future study could assess the impact of interventions on a larger scale whilst investigating variation in the subtype of diabetes, patient sex and other demographics on outcomes such as length of stay, morbidity and mortality.

Author Biographies

Jordan Wardrope, NHS Forth Valley

Core Trainee, Acute Assessment Unit

Iona E McKenzie, NHS Forth Valley

Foundation House Officer, Acute Assessment Unit

Nicholas D Barwell, NHS Forth Valley

Consultant Physician, Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology


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Learning from practice