Utilisation of emergency medical services for severe hypoglycaemia: An unrecognised health care burden

Melanie Villani, Natalie Nanayakkara, Sanjeeva Ranasinha, Chin Yao Tan, Karen Smith, Amee Morgans, Georgia Soldatos, Helena Teede, Sophia Zoungas

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19 Citations (Scopus)


Aims: Diabetes is associated with several acute, life-threatening complications yet there are limited data on the utilisation of prehospital services for their management. This study aimed to examine the utilisation of emergency medical services (EMS) for prehospital hypoglycaemia, including patient characteristics and factors related to hospital transportation. Methods: An observational study of patients requiring EMS for hypoglycaemia across Victoria, Australia over three years was conducted. Pre-specified data including patient demographics, comorbidities, examination findings and transport outcomes were obtained. Logistic regression was used to assess factors associated with transportation. Results: During the study period, 12,411 hypoglycaemia events were attended by paramedics for people with diabetes. The majority were individuals with type 1 diabetes (58.8%), followed by type 2 diabetes (35.2%) and unspecified diabetes type (5.9%). Thirty-eight percent of patients were transported to hospital by EMS following hypoglycaemia. Factors associated with transport by EMS included extremes of age (. 75. years), female gender, type 2 diabetes, event at a nursing home or hospital/community clinic, presence of comorbidities and time of day. Conclusions: Examination of the utilisation of EMS for hypoglycaemia has identified a previously unquantified need for emergency care for people with diabetes as well as factors related to hospital transportation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1081-1086
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Diabetes and its Complications
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2016


  • Diabetes
  • Diabetic complications
  • Diabetic emergencies
  • Emergency Medical Services
  • Hypoglycaemia
  • Prehospital

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