Outcomes of community-dwelling adults without diabetes mellitus who require ambulance services for hypoglycemia

Ajay K. Parsaik, Rickey E. Carter, Lucas A. Myers, Ming Dong, Ananda Basu, Yogish C. Kudva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Objective: We evaluate the prevalence, etiology, and outcomes of hypoglycemia requiring emergency medical services (EMS) in patients without diabetes mellitus (non-DM). Methods: We reviewed medical records of all ambulance calls for non-DM with blood glucose <70 mg/dl in Olmsted County, Minnesota, between January 1, 2003, and December 31, 2009. Results: A total of 131 patients (age 51 ± 19 years; 54% females) made 142 EMS calls, while 10 patients made repeated calls. Causes of hypoglycemia were critical illness (42; 32%), alcohol and polysubstance use (36; 27.5%), insulinoma/bariatric surgery (10; 8%), restricted oral intake (7; 5%), and multiple factors (3; 27.5%). Patients with alcohol and polysubstance abuse were younger (p = .002). A total of 54 patients had additional hypoglycemia predisposing comorbidities/factors [adrenal insufficiency (2), end-stage renal disease (11) and chronic liver disease (7), beta blockers use (34), and pentamidine use (1)]. Repeated calls and emergency room transportation were similar, but hospitalization varied across the etiologies, with the lowest proportion in the multiple-factor-related hypoglycemia group (p = .01). Duration of follow-up was 1.28 (interquartile range 0.13-2.70) years. A total of 38 patients died, and age-adjusted mortality varied across different etiologies (p < .001), with highest among critically ill. Cancer caused the highest number of deaths (7/38; 18%), while 1 death was due to hypoglycemia. Conclusions: There were multiple etiologies for hypoglycemic episodes in community-dwelling non-DM that required EMS. Critical illness, multifactorial causes, and alcohol/polysubstance abuse were common causes. Hospitalization and mortality were higher with critical illnesses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1107-1113
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Diabetes Science and Technology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2012


  • Emergency medical services
  • Emergency room
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Non-diabetes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomedical Engineering


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