Safe and efficient blood glucose (BG) level control after cardiac surgery relies on an intensive care unit (ICU) team-based approach, including implementation of a dynamic insulin therapy protocol (ITP). Long-term compliance with such a complex protocol is poorly addressed in the literature. The aim of this study was to assess the long-term compliance of nurses with the ITP, 7 years after its implementation in the ICU.
A professional practice evaluation, integrated in a process of quality improvement program, was retrospectively conducted on 224 consecutive cardiac surgery patients over a 6-month period (PHASE 1). The timing of BG measurements and the insulin infusion rate adjustments (primary endpoints) were correctly performed according to protocol requirements in 35 and 53% of the cases, respectively.
After systemic analysis of the causes of protocol deviations, four corrective measures aiming at improving both physician and nurse adherence to the protocol were implemented in the ICU.
Evaluation of 104 patients in PHASE 2 showed a significant improvement in both the timing of BG measurements (83 %, P < 0.001 vs. PHASE 1), and insulin infusion rate adjustments (76%, P < 0.001).
Seven years after the implementation of a dynamic insulin infusion protocol, major protocol deviations were observed. Identification of several causes after a professional practice evaluation and the implementation of simple corrective measures restored a high level of nurse compliance.