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

Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Annals of internal medicine (Impact Factor: 17.81). 08/2008; 149(1):11-9.
Source: PubMed


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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Available from: Harry Zhang, Feb 04, 2015
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    • "In a cross-sectional analysis of 3075 well-functioning older adults aged 70-79 [1], poor glycemic control was associated with risk of early functional decline in individuals with diabetes. Recent research based on UKPDS (United Kingdom Prospective Diabetes Study) risk models further demonstrate that the presence of functional impairments may diminish the benefits of achieving intensive glucose control [22]. Among older adults with diabetes, prior research suggests that an association exists between hyperglycemia and frailty, muscle weakness, and poor muscle quality [23,24]. "
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    • "Intensive glycemic control may reduce risk of diabetes microvascular complications but its effect on cardiovascular outcomes is more controversial. A decision analysis showed that, among older patients with diabetes, the presence of multiple comorbid illnesses or functional impairments was an important predictor of diminishing expected benefits of intensive glycemic control [23]. These results were confirmed in a recent study that showed that patients with high levels of comorbidity received diminished cardiovascular benefit from intensive glycemic control [24]. "
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