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High Blood Sugar Or Hyperglycemia In Patients Receiving Total Parenteral Nutrition (TPN) Are At A Higher Risk Of Death

by The Beasley Firm  |  January 4, 2013  |  ,

Research published by the American Diabetes Association shows that non-critically ill patients who develop hyperglycemia or a high blood sugar after receiving total parental nutrition (TPN) or hyperalimentation are more likely to die in the hospital.

TPN is used in patients who cannot or shouldn’t get their nutrition by eating. TPN may include a combination of sugar, carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, electrolytes and trace elements. TPN is administered to any patient, from premature infants in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) to the elderly if it is medically necessary for nutritional purposes.

The research found that patients who were not critically ill who had an average blood glucose or blood sugar level above 180 mg/dl due to TPN had a 5.6-fold increase in wrongful death as compared to those patients whose blood sugars were below 140 mg/dl. The increase in mortality persisted even after accounting for patient age, nutritional status, sex, other medical conditions, high blood sugar prior to TPN, diabetes, C-reactive protein level, albumin level, hemoglobin levels or infections.

Hyperglycemia or too much sugar in the blood can cause the following problems:

  • Polydipsia – frequent or excessive thirst
  • Polyphagia – frequent or pronounced hunger
  • Polyuria – frequent urination
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Weight loss
  • Dry mouth
  • Poor circulation
  • Poor wound healing
  • Dry or itchy skin
  • Numbness or tingling in the extremities, especially the feet and legs
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Recurrent infections
  • Seizures
  • Irregular heart beat or cardiac arrhythmia
  • Coma
  • Death

This most recent research data suggests that the goal of blood sugar control in patients who are not critically ill, with or without diabetes, who are receiving TPN or hyperalimentation, should be to have a blood glucose level below 180mg/dl. According to the authors, “This study opens the door to further prospective studies in non-critically ill patients to determine whether stricter blood glucose control during TPN infusion improves the outcome for patients and reduces mortality.”

If you or a loved one developed complications from a high blood sugar or hyperglycemia, we may be able to assist you. Here at the Philadelphia Beasley medical malpractice law firm we have on staff physicians and nurses who have cared for patients on hyperalimentation or who had hyperglycemic episodes. Please feel free to contact one of our lawyers, doctors or nurses at (215) 593-2630 for a strictly confidential and free consultation.

For over 60 years we have been a leader in Philadelphia’s legal community when an individual who has been harmed, is looking for a law firm to represent them. Since 1958, The Philadelphia Beasley Law Firm attorneys have represented some of the most prominent and powerful people in the area and obtained record setting verdicts and settlements, including the first ever million dollar verdict in Pennsylvania. Our Firm has obtained hundreds of verdicts or settlements that were $1 million and above, and has had over two billion dollars awarded on behalf of our injured clients.

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