Background Dysglycemia is frequently observed in patients with sepsis. However, the relationship between dysglycemia and outcome is inconsistent. We evaluate the clinical characteristics, glycemic abnormalities, and the relationship between the initial glucose level and mortality in patients with sepsis. Methods This is a retrospective sub-analysis of a multicenter, prospective cohort study. Adult patients with severe sepsis (Sepsis-2) were divided into groups based on blood glucose categories (<70 (hypoglycemia), 70–139, 140–179, and ≥180 mg/dL), according to the admission values. In-hospital mortality and the relationship between pre-existing diabetes and septic shock were evaluated. Results Of 1158 patients, 69, 543, 233, and 313 patients were categorized as glucose levels <70, 70–139, 140–179, ≥180 mg/dL, respectively. Both the Acute Physiological and Chronic Health Evaluation II and Sequential Organ Failure Assessment (SOFA) scores on the day of enrollment were higher in the hypoglycemic patients than in those with 70–179 mg/dL. The hepatic SOFA scores were also higher in hypoglycemic patients. In-hospital mortality rates were higher in hypoglycemic patients than in those with 70–139 mg/dL (26/68, 38.2% vs 43/ 221, 19.5%). A significant relationship between mortality and hypoglycemia was demonstrated only in patients without known diabetes. Mortality in patients with both hypoglycemia and septic shock was 2.5-times higher than that in patients without hypoglycemia and septic shock. Conclusions Hypoglycemia may be related to increased severity and high mortality in patients with severe sepsis. These relationships were evident only in patients without known diabetes. Patients with both hypoglycemia and septic shock had an associated increased mortality rate.
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