Hospital utilization for hypoglycemia among patients with type 2 diabetes using pooled data from six health systems

Scott J. Pilla, Jennifer L. Kraschnewski, Erik B. Lehman, Lan Kong, Erica Francis, Jennifer M. Poger, Cindy L. Bryce, Nisa M. Maruthur, Hsin Chieh Yeh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction Hypoglycemia is the most common serious adverse effect of diabetes treatment and a major cause of medication-related hospitalization. This study aimed to identify trends and predictors of hospital utilization for hypoglycemia among patients with type 2 diabetes using electronic health record data pooled from six academic health systems. Research design and methods This retrospective open cohort study included 549 041 adults with type 2 diabetes receiving regular care from the included health systems between 2009 and 2019. The primary outcome was the yearly event rate for hypoglycemia hospital utilization: emergency department visits, observation visits, or inpatient admissions for hypoglycemia identified using a validated International Classification of Diseases Ninth Revision (ICD-9) algorithm from 2009 to 2014. After the transition to ICD-10 in 2015, we used two ICD-10 code sets (limited and expanded) for hypoglycemia hospital utilization from prior studies. We identified independent predictors of hypoglycemia hospital utilization using multivariable logistic regression analysis with data from 2014. Results Yearly rates of hypoglycemia hospital utilization decreased from 2.7 to 1.6 events per 1000 patients from 2009 to 2014 (p-trend=0.023). From 2016 to 2019, yearly event rates were stable ranging from 5.6 to 6.6, or 6.3 to 7.3, using the limited and expanded ICD-10 code sets, respectively. In 2014, the strongest independent risk factors for hypoglycemia hospital utilization were chronic kidney disease (OR 2.86, 95% CI 2.33 to 3.57), ages 18-39 years (OR 2.43 vs age 40-64 years, 95% CI 1.78 to 3.31), and insulin use (OR 2.13 vs no diabetes medications, 95% CI 1.67 to 2.73). Conclusions Rates of hypoglycemia hospital utilization decreased from 2009 to 2014 and varied considerably by clinical risk factors such that younger adults, insulin users, and those with chronic kidney disease were at especially high risk. There is a need to validate hypoglycemia ascertainment using ICD-10 codes, which detect a substantially higher number of events compared with ICD-9.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere002153
JournalBMJ Open Diabetes Research and Care
StatePublished - Dec 1 2021


  • diabetes mellitus
  • hospitalization
  • type 2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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