A new study in the journal Respirology reveals that patients with diabetes who are hospitalised with acute exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) experience longer time in the hospital and are also at an increased risk of death, compared to those without diabetes.
High blood sugar may cause more severe infections due to impairment of immune responses. Researchers led by Dr. Ali Parappil of the Department of Respiratory Medicine, Liverpool Hospital in Australia reviewed records of patients admitted with acute exacerbations of COPD during 2007. They examined data on the presence of diabetes, length of stay, disease severity, and other co-morbidities.
The results show a trend towards an increased length of hospital stay for patients with diabetes. The average length of stay for patients without diabetes was 6.5 days but, among the 53 (22%) admissions in patients with diabetes the average length of stay was 7.8 days, which was 10.3% longer (after adjusting for other co-morbidities). Diabetes patients were also at increased risk of death during the hospitalization (8% vs 4%).
“Taken together with other studies, our study shows that diabetes was an adverse prognostic factor in COPD patients,” said Parappil. “We believe that better control of diabetes in patients with COPD could improve outcomes; in particular, reducing length of hospital stays and risk of death.”