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Health Services Research & Development

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HSR&D Citation Abstract

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Tseng CL, Aron DC, Soroka O, Lu SE, Myers CE, Pogach LM. Racial differences in trends of serious hypoglycemia among higher risk older adults in US Veterans Health Administration, 2004-2015: Relationship to comorbid conditions, insulin use, and hemoglobin A1c level. Journal of diabetes and its complications. 2020 Mar 1; 34(3):107475.
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Abstract: AIMS: To evaluate temporal trends in racial/ethnic groups in rates of serious hypoglycemia among higher risk patients dually enrolled in Veterans Health Administration and Medicare fee-for-service and assess the relationship(s) between hypoglycemia rates, insulin/secretagogues and comorbid conditions. METHODS: Retrospective observational serial cross-sectional design. Patients were = 65?years receiving insulin and/or secretagogues. The primary outcome was the annual (period prevalence) rates (2004-2015), per 1000 patient years, of serious hypoglycemic events, defined as hypoglycemic-related emergency department visits or hospitalizations. RESULTS: Subjects were 77-83% White, 7-10% Black, 4-5% Hispanic, < 2% women; 38-58% were = 75?years old; 72-75% had = 1 comorbidity. In 2004-2015, rates declined from 63.2 to 33.6(-46.9%) in Blacks; 29.7 to 20.3 (-31.6%) in Whites; and 41.8 to 29.6 (-29.3%) in Hispanics. The Black-White rate differences narrowed regardless of insulin use, hemoglobin A1c level, and frequency and various combinations of comorbid conditions. Among insulin users, the Black-White contrast decreased from 34.7 (98.5 vs. 63.8) in 2004 to 13.2 (43.6 vs. 30.4) in 2015; in non-insulin users, the contrast was 25.7 (44.1 vs. 18.4) in 2004 and 10.1 (18.9 vs. 8.8) in 2015. CONCLUSION: Marked declines in serious hypoglycemia events occurred across race, medications, and comorbidities, suggesting significant changes in clinical practice.

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