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Daily variation in blood glucose levels during continuous enteral nutrition in patients on the intensive care unit

Research group Kalsbeek
Publication year 2024
Published in EBioMedicine
Authors Floor W Hiemstra, Dirk Jan Stenvers, Andries Kalsbeek, Evert de Jonge, David J van Westerloo, Laura Kervezee

BACKGROUND: The circadian timing system coordinates daily cycles in physiological functions, including glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity. Here, the aim was to characterise the 24-h variation in glucose levels in critically ill patients during continuous enteral nutrition after controlling for potential sources of bias.

METHODS: Time-stamped clinical data from adult patients who stayed in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for at least 4 days and received enteral nutrition were extracted from the Medical Information Mart for Intensive Care (MIMIC)-IV database. Linear mixed-effects and XGBoost modelling were used to determine the effect of time of day on blood glucose values.

FINDINGS: In total, 207,647 glucose measurements collected during enteral nutrition were available from 6,929 ICU patients (3,948 males and 2,981 females). Using linear mixed-effects modelling, time of day had a significant effect on blood glucose levels (p < 0.001), with a peak of 9.6 [9.5-9.6; estimated marginal means, 95% CI] mmol/L at 10:00 in the morning and a trough of 8.6 [8.5-8.6] mmol/L at 02:00 at night. A similar impact of time of day on glucose levels was found with the XGBoost regression model.

INTERPRETATION: These results revealed marked 24-h variation in glucose levels in ICU patients even during continuous enteral nutrition. This 24-h pattern persists after adjustment for potential sources of bias, suggesting it may be the result of endogenous biological rhythmicity.

FUNDING: This work was supported by a VENI grant from the Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development (ZonMw), an institutional project grant, and by the Dutch Research Council (NWO).

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