Risk factors for postoperative hyperglycemia in neonates

Bischoff, A.R., Grass, B., Fan, C.-P.S., Tomlinson, C., Lee, K.-S.* | JNPM 2021;


OBJECTIVE: Postoperative hyperglycemia has been shown to be associated with higher morbidity and mortality in pediatric patients. Data on risk factors for neonatal patients is limited. The objective of this study was to identify pre- and intraoperative risk factors associated with postoperative glucose in neonates.

METHODS: We conducted a retrospective cohort study of neonates after surgical procedures between January and December 2016 in a quaternary neonatal intensive care unit. The primary outcome was hyperglycemia defined as serum glucose ≥8.3 mmol/L during the first 4 hours postoperatively. Secondary outcomes included death and length of stay. We assessed the association of risk factors with the postoperative glucose.

RESULTS: In total, 206 surgical procedures (171 patients) were evaluated, among which 178 had serum glucose values during the first 4 hours postoperatively available. The incidence of hyperglycemia was 54% (n = 95). The median (IQR) glucose during the first 4 hours in NICU was 8.4 (6.52–10.65) mmol/L. Risk factors for postoperative hyperglycemia were intraoperative glucose infusion rate (GIR) and gestational age. There was a non-linear relationship between gestational age and postoperative hyperglycemia. Mortality occurred in 6 (7%) in the no-hyperglycemia group and 3 (3%) in the hyperglycemia group (p = 0.31).

CONCLUSIONS: Among the risk factors, intraoperative GIR was identified as a modifiable factor that can reduce postoperative hyperglycemia. A non-linear relationship of gestational age with postoperative glucose provides new insights that may help advance our understanding of the complex mechanisms of glucose homeostasis in neonates.


*Corresponding Author: 

 Kyong-Soon Lee, Division of Neonatology, Room 38102, Hospital for Sick Children, 555 University Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, M5G 1X8. Tel.: +1 416 813 7488; Fax: +1 416 813 5245; E-mail: kyong-soon.lee@sickkids.ca.