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The Impact of Hyperglycemia on Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation Outcomes: An Integrative Review

Jill M. Olausson
Marilyn J. Hammer
Veronica Brady
ONF 2014, 41(5), E302-E312 DOI: 10.1188/14.ONF.E302-E312

Problem Identification: Many patients undergoing hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) for hematologic malignancies experience hyperglycemic events during treatment, leading to adverse outcomes. Understanding how hyperglycemia during the acute HCT treatment phase impacts outcomes is vital for preventing and mitigating adverse events. This integrative review evaluates the impact of hyperglycemia on adult patients undergoing HCT.

Literature Search: PubMed, MEDLINE®, and CINAHL® electronic databases were used to identify relevant articles.

Data Evaluation: The final sample for this integrative review included 12 empirical quantitative reports of clinical patient outcomes. Of the 12, 10 are retrospective, 1 is case-control, and 1 is prospective.

Data Analysis: Content analysis was used to synthesize and summarize findings.

Presentation of Findings: A review of published literature found associations between hyperglycemia and infection, time to engraftment, development of acute graft-versus-host disease, length of stay, and overall survival. Patient-related risk factors for hyperglycemia included older age, preexisting diabetes, and insulin resistance (i.e., prediabetes). Patients of normal weight experiencing hyperglycemia had worse outcomes than patients who were overweight or obese. Treatment-related risk factors for hyperglycemia include dose and duration of immunosuppressants, specifically corticosteroids, treatment with antihyperglycemic medications, and use of total parenteral nutrition.

Implications for Nursing Practice: HCT is one of the most complex treatments for hematologic disorders. The transplantation nurse, as part of an interdisciplinary team, plays an essential role in glycemic control during the acute phase of HCT. Understanding the effects of hyperglycemia, as well as factors that place the patient at risk for hyperglycemia, allows the nurse to make well-informed, proactive interventions aimed at glycemic control.

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