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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 July 2007, 01:34 GMT 02:34 UK
Diabetes 'complicates recovery'
Injecting insulin
Those with diabetes may need special care after an accident
People with diabetes are more likely to spend longer in intensive care and pick up an infection after an accident than those without, a US study suggests.

Researchers at the Penn State College of Medicine looked at nearly 26,000 patients who were hospitalised after trauma injuries between 1984 and 2002.

Those with diabetes were nearly twice as likely to pick up an infection and spent two days longer on a ventilator.

But they were not more likely to die, the Archives of Surgery study found.

Researchers said further study was needed to see if improving glycemic control on hospitalised patients improved their experience after a serious accident.

Ventilation and infections

Around 23% of those with diabetes studied experienced some complication during their stay in hospital, compared to 14% among those without the condition.

This is an interesting avenue of investigation as infections such as MRSA are a major issue in UK hospitals
Matt Hunt
Diabetes UK

They were slightly more likely to require care in intensive care, but once there stayed nearly two days longer.

They also required longer periods on ventilator support - 10.8 days compared with 8.4, and 11.3% developed infections, compared to 6.3% in the non-diabetic group.

Previous studies have shown that those with diabetes have more difficulties in recovering after stroke, heart attack, and heart surgery, but researchers said little work had been done to establish what the risks were for those who had had a serious accident.

Matt Hunt of Diabetes UK said it came as no surprise to learn that those with diabetes had more complications following trauma as the condition "seems to affect the immune system and people's power of recuperation.

"What is interesting though is that this study shows that people with diabetes are much more vulnerable to infections by a large margin.

"This is an interesting avenue of investigation as infections such as MRSA are a major issue in UK hospitals."

09 Feb 99 |  Medical notes

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