There are conflicting reports on plasma insulin concentrations in the acutely injured. Plasma insulin and glucose concentrations have been measured in 504 patients within 8 h of injury, and related to the severity of injury as assessed by the injury severity score (ISS). As in previous surveys of injured patients, an extremely wide range of insulin concentrations was found (2-141 mU/l). Most of the variability occurred at lower severities of injury. In very severely injured patients (ISS greater than or equal to 30), insulin concentrations were uniformly suppressed (less than 20 mU/l), especially in relation to the hyperglycaemia in these patients. Two small subgroups, patients dying within 3 h of injury and known psychiatric patients on psycho-active drugs, differed from the general pattern in displaying elevated insulin concentrations despite very severe injuries. The results bear out the idea that insulin secretion is usually acutely suppressed by adrenaline after severe injury; after less severe injuries, however, the response is much less uniform.
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