CCC 2013: Diabetes Management in a Cardiac Care Setting

October 1, 2013

Diabetes is a major contributing factor for heart disease. Diabetes patients are two to three times more likely to develop cardiovascular disease than the general population. With the condition widely undertreated and diabetes rates growing, cardiovascular professionals are looking to stem the flow of new and returning heart patients due to poorly managed blood sugar levels.

The Diabetes Management Program, developed by the University of Ottawa Heart Institute in partnership with The Ottawa Hospital Division of Endocrinology, has been highly effective in identifying diabetic inpatients and ensuring that their blood sugar levels are appropriately managed. At the 2012 CCC, Heart Institute nurses reported on the initial success of the initiative a year after its roll-out as a pilot program.

This year at Vascular 2013, Heart Institute and Ottawa Hospital staff presented a symposium sponsored by the Canadian Diabetes Association called “Implementation of an Integrated Diabetes Management Program within a Cardiac Care Institution.” The symposium drew a standing room-only audience of hundreds of healthcare professionals. Based on attendance and subsequent interest, this appears to be a concept whose time has come.

Cardiologist Dr. Richard Davies, diabetes nurse specialist Kim Twyman and endocrinologist Dr. Amel Arnaout presented a detailed overview of the program and its implementation.

Not only does diabetes greatly increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, it can complicate and negatively impact outcomes for standard treatments such as stenting and bypass surgery. In heart failure, the presence of diabetes greatly increases the overall burden of disease.

Pairing the University of Ottawa Heart Institute logo with the international symbol for diabetes represents the spirit of the Heart Institute’s innovative Diabetes Management Program. Nurses championing the program sport lapel pins with this design.

It was hoped that an integrated diabetes management program at the Heart Institute would improve the identification of patients with diabetes, standardize diabetes care, improve patient outcomes and reduce hospitalizations and health care costs. The rationale for the program came out of an analysis of more than 30,000 Heart Institute patients over three years that identified care gaps, illustrating the large potential benefit of such a program.

Results of the program presented at the symposium show that, thanks to initiatives such as the use of medical directives, nurse educator consultation and blood glucose testing of all inpatients, care gaps are closing and blood glucose levels of patients referred to the Heart Institute Diabetes Clinic are being brought under control.

For more information, download the symposium slides: