The effect of comorbid illness and functional status on the expected benefits of intensive glucose control in older patients with type 2 diabetes: a decision analysis.

University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 60637, USA.
Annals of internal medicine (Impact Factor: 16.1). 08/2008; 149(1):11-9.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Physicians are uncertain about when to pursue intensive glucose control among older patients with diabetes.
To assess the effect of comorbid illnesses and functional status, mediated through background mortality, on the expected benefits of intensive glucose control.
Decision analysis.
Major clinical studies in diabetes and geriatrics.
Patients 60 to 80 years of age who have type 2 diabetes and varied life expectancies estimated from a mortality index that was validated at the population level.
Patient lifetime. Perspective: Health care system.
Intensive glucose control (hemoglobin A1c [HbA1c] level of 7.0) versus moderate glucose control (HbA1c level of 7.9).
Lifetime differences in incidence of complications and average quality-adjusted days.
Healthy older patients of different age groups had expected benefits of intensive glucose control ranging from 51 to 116 quality-adjusted days. Within each age group, the expected benefits of intensive control steadily declined as the level of comorbid illness and functional impairment increased (mortality index score, 1 to 26 points). For patients 60 to 64 years of age with new-onset diabetes, the benefits declined from 106 days at baseline good health (life expectancy, 14.6 years) to 44 days with 3 additional index points (life expectancy, 9.7 years) and 8 days with 7 additional index points (life expectancy, 4.8 years). A similar decline in benefits occurred among patients with prolonged duration of diabetes.
With alternative model assumptions (such as Framingham models), expected benefits of intensive control declined as mortality index scores increased.
Diabetes clinical trial data were lacking for frail, older patients. The mortality index was not validated for use in predicting individual-level life expectancies. Adverse effects of intensive control were not taken into account.
Among older diabetic patients, the presence of multiple comorbid illnesses or functional impairments is a more important predictor of limited life expectancy and diminishing expected benefits of intensive glucose control than is age alone.

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