Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Treatment of diabetic coma with small intravenous insulin boluses.

Br Med J 1976; 2 doi: (Published 14 August 1976) Cite this as: Br Med J 1976;2:394
  1. N Clumeck,
  2. A De Troyer,
  3. R Naeije,
  4. G Somers,
  5. L Smekens,
  6. E O Balasse


    The clinical efficacy of small intravenous boluses of insulin in treating diabetic decompensation was tested in 23 patients presenting in either a ketoacidotic or a nonketotic diabetic coma. In addition to the usual ionic and fluid replacement, the patients received hourly intravenous injections of insulin 5 IU. This dose lowered blood glucose levels in all but two patients. In the patients who responded the percentage decrease in glycaemia was similar whatever the initial glucose concentration and averaged (+/-SE of mean) 50+/-3% in five hours. Close monitoring of insulin and glucose concentrations after intravenous insulin in three patients showed that despite the short half life of insulin the effect of the intravenous bolus lasted for about 60 minutes. The overall clinical effectiveness of this type of treatment is comparable to that of the other low-dose regimens. Owing to its simplicity, this technique of insulin administration seems most suitable for the routine treatment of diabetic coma.