Continuous insulin infusion is a method for maintaining blood glucose stability in critically ill patients with hyperglycemia. Many insulin infusion protocols have been applied in intensive care units. Understanding the content of these protocols can help clinical staff choose the most appropriate and convenient protocol and promote best practices in managing glucose levels in critically ill adult patients.
To examine the types of insulin infusion therapies performed for blood glucose management in critically ill patients.
For this scoping review, 3 Chinese-language and 8 English-language databases were searched for articles published from May 25, 2016, to October 25, 2022.
Twenty-one articles met the inclusion criteria. Twenty-one insulin infusion protocols were examined. Most of the insulin infusion protocols were paper protocols. Fourteen glucose management indicators were included in the 21 protocols. The glucose target range for all 21 protocols ranged from 70 to 180 mg/dL (3.9-10.0 mmol/L). Nurses were primarily responsible for protocol implementation in most protocol development processes. The roles of nurses differed in nurse-led insulin infusion protocols and non–nurse-led insulin infusion protocols.
This scoping review indicates an urgent need for more comprehensive glycemic control guidelines for patients receiving critical care. Because insulin infusion protocols are core aspects of blood glucose management guidelines, different population subgroups should also be considered.
Nurse-led guidelines must be based on the best available evidence and should include other variables related to glucose management (eg, patient disease type, medication, and nutrition) in addition to insulin infusion.