Trends in hospital admissions for hypoglycaemia in England: a retrospective, observational study

Zaccardi, Francesco, Davies, Melanie J., Dhalwani, Nafeesa N., Webb, David R., Housley, Gemma, Shaw, Dominick E., Hatton, James W. and Khunti, Kamlesh (2016) Trends in hospital admissions for hypoglycaemia in England: a retrospective, observational study. Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, 4 (8). pp. 677-685. ISSN 2213-8595

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Studies in the USA and Canada have reported increasing or stable rates of hospital admissions for hypoglycaemia. Some data from small studies are available for other countries. We aimed to gather information about long-term trends in hospital admission for hypoglycaemia and subsequent outcomes in England to help widen understanding for the global burden of hospitalisation for hypoglycaemia.


We collected data for all hospital admissions listing hypoglycaemia as primary reason of admission between Jan 1, 2005, and Dec 31, 2014, using the Hospital Episode Statistics database, which contains details of all admissions to English National Health Service (NHS) hospital trusts. We calculated trends in crude and adjusted (for age, sex, ethnic group, social deprivation, and Charlson comorbidity score) admissions for hypoglycaemia; in admissions for hypoglycaemia per total hospital admissions and per diabetes prevalence in England; and in length of stay, in-hospital mortality, and 1 month readmissions for hypoglycaemia.


79 172 people had 101 475 admissions for hypoglycaemia between 2005 and 2014, of which 72 568 (72%) occurred in people aged 60 years or older. 13 924 (18%) people had more than one admission for hypoglycaemia during the study period. The number of admissions increased steadily from 7868 in 2005, to 11 756 in 2010 (49% increase) and then remained more stable until 2014 (10 977; 39% increase from baseline, range across English regions 11–89%); the trend was similar after adjustment for risk factors, with a rate ratio of 1·53 (95% CI 1·29–1·81) for 2014 versus 2005. Admissions for hypoglycaemia per 100 000 total hospital admissions increased from 63·6 to 78·9 between 2005–06 and 2010–11 (24% increase), and then fell to 72·3 per 100 000 in 2013–14 (14% overall increase). Accounting for diabetes prevalence data, rates declined from 4·64 to 3·86 admissions per 1000 person-years with diabetes between 2010–11 and 2013–14. We were unable to compare prevalence rates with data prior to 2010, as the populations were not comparable; data were available for all individuals prior to 2010 but only for those aged 17 years or older after 2010. With some differences across regions, from 2005 to 2014, the adjusted proportion of admissions to receive same-day discharge increased by 43·8% (from 18·9 to 27·1 same-day discharges per 100 admissions); in-hospital mortality decreased by 46·3% (from 4·2 to 2·3 deaths per 100 admissions); and 1 month readmissions decreased by 63·0% (from 48·1 to 17·8 per 100 readmissions).


Over 10 years, hospital admissions in England for hypoglycaemia increased by 39% in absolute terms and by 14% considering the general increase in hospitalisation; however, accounting for diabetes prevalence, there was a reduction of admission rates. Hospital length of stay, mortality, and 1 month readmissions decreased progressively and consistently during the study period. Given the continuous rise of diabetes prevalence, ageing population, and costs associated with hypoglycaemia, individual and national initiatives should be implemented to reduce the burden of hospital admissions for hypoglycaemia.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Date of acceptance is estimated.
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham, UK > Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Medicine > Division of Respiratory Medicine
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Depositing User: Eprints, Support
Date Deposited: 07 Nov 2016 12:34
Last Modified: 04 May 2020 20:01

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