Hyperglycemia and glucose variability are associated with worse survival in mechanically ventilated COVID-19 patients: the prospective Maastricht Intensive Care Covid Cohort


Data on hyperglycemia and glucose variability in relation to diabetes mellitus, either known or unknown in ICU-setting in COVID-19, are scarce. We prospectively studied daily glucose variables and mortality in strata of diabetes mellitus and glycosylated hemoglobin among mechanically ventilated COVID-19 patients.


We used linear-mixed effect models in mechanically ventilated COVID-19 patients to investigate mean and maximum difference in glucose concentration per day over time. We compared ICU survivors and non-survivors and tested for effect-modification by pandemic wave 1 and 2, diabetes mellitus, and admission HbA1c.


Among 232 mechanically ventilated COVID-19 patients, 21.1% had known diabetes mellitus, whereas 16.9% in wave 2 had unknown diabetes mellitus. Non-survivors had higher mean glucose concentrations (ß 0.62 mmol/l; 95%CI 0.20–1.06; ß 11.2 mg/dl; 95% CI 3.6–19.1; P = 0.004) and higher maximum differences in glucose concentrations per day (ß 0.85 mmol/l; 95%CI 0.37–1.33; ß 15.3; 95%CI 6.7–23.9; P = 0.001). Effect modification by wave, history of diabetes mellitus and admission HbA1c in associations between glucose and survival was not present. Effect of higher mean glucose concentrations was modified by pandemic wave (wave 1 (ß 0.74; 95% CI 0.24–1.23 mmol/l) ; (ß 13.3; 95%CI 4.3–22.1 mg/dl)) vs. (wave 2 (ß 0.37 (95%CI 0.25–0.98) mmol/l) (ß 6.7 (95% ci 4.5–17.6) mg/dl)).


Hyperglycemia and glucose variability are associated with mortality in mechanically ventilated COVID-19 patients irrespective of the presence of diabetes mellitus.