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SAMJ: South African Medical Journal

On-line version ISSN 2078-5135
Print version ISSN 0256-9574

Abstract

BIESMAN-SIMONS, T et al. A multicentre prospective observational study of the prevalence and glycaemic control of diabetes mellitus in adult non-cardiac elective surgical patients in hospitals in Western Cape Province, South Africa. SAMJ, S. Afr. med. j. [online]. 2019, vol.109, n.10, pp.801-806. ISSN 2078-5135.  http://dx.doi.org/10.7196/samj.2019.v109i10.13898.

BACKGROUND. Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a common condition. The high burden of undiagnosed DM and a lack of large population studies make accurate prevalence estimations difficult, especially in the surgical environment. Furthermore, poorly controlled DM is associated with an increased risk of perioperative complications and mortality. OBJECTIVES. The primary objective was to establish the prevalence of DM in elective adult non-cardiac, non-obstetric surgical patients in hospitals in Western Cape Province, South Africa. The secondary objectives were to assess the glycaemic control and compliance with treatment of known diabetics. METHODS. A 5-day multicentre, prospective observational study was performed at six government-funded hospitals in the Western Cape. Screening for DM was done using finger-prick capillary blood glucose (CBG) testing. Patients found to have a CBG >6.5 mmol/L had their glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) level measured. DM was diagnosed based on the Society for Endocrinology, Metabolism and Diabetes of South Africa (SEMDSA) diagnostic criteria. Patients known to have DM had their HbA1c measured and completed a Morisky Medication Adherence Scale (MMAS-4) questionnaire to assess glycaemic control and compliance with treatment. RESULTS. Of the 379 participants, 61 were known diabetics (16.2%; 95% confidence interval (CI) 12.4 - 19.8). After exclusion of 8 patients with incomplete results, a new diagnosis of DM was made in 5/310 patients (1.6%; 95% CI 0.2 - 3.0). The overall prevalence of DM was 17.8% (66/371; 95% CI 13.9 - 21.7). HbA1c results were available for 57 (93.4%) of the 61 known diabetics. Of these, 27 (47.4%; 95% CI 34.4 - 60.3) had an HbA1c level >8.5% and 14 (24.6%; 95% CI 13.4 - 35.8) had a level <7%. Based on positive responses to two or more questions on the MMAS-4 questionnaire, 12/60 participants (20.0%) were deemed non-compliant. CONCLUSIONS. There is a low rate of undiagnosed DM in our elective surgical population, but in a high proportion of patients with DM the condition is poorly controlled. Poorly controlled DM is known to increase postoperative complications and is likely to increase the burden of perioperative care. Resources should be focused on improvement of long-term glycaemic control in patients presenting for elective surgery.

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