Intermittent gastric feeds lower insulin requirements without worsening dysglycemia: A pilot randomized crossover trial

Tyson Sjulin, Richard Strilka, Nikhil Huprikar, Lisa Cameron, Parker Woody, Scott Armen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Introduction: We hypothesized that critically ill medical patients would require less insulin when fed intermittently. Methods: First, 26 patients were randomized to receive intermittent or continuous gastric feeds. Once at goal nutrition, data were collected for the first 4-hr data collection period. Next, the enteral feed type was switched, goal nutrition was repeated, and a second 4-h data collection period was completed. The primary endpoint was the total amount of insulin infused; secondary endpoints were glucose concentration mean, maximum, minimum, and standard deviation, as well as episodes of hypoglycemia. Results: Sixteen of the 26 patients successfully completed the protocol. One patient experienced a large, rapid, and sustained decline in insulin requirement from liver failure, creating a bias of lesser insulin in the intermittent arm; this patient was removed from the analysis. For the remaining 15 patients, the average total amount of insulin infused was 1.4 U/patient/h less following intermittent feeds: P =0.027, 95% confidence interval (0.02, 11.17), and effect size 0.6. Secondary endpoints were statistically similar. Conclusions: Critically ill medical patients who require an insulin infusion have a reduced insulin requirement when fed intermittently, whereas dysglycemia metrics are not adversely affected. A larger clinical study is required to confirm these findings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)200-205
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Critical Illness and Injury Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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