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Open Access Research article

Preoperative insulin resistance reduces complications after hip replacement surgery in non-diabetic patients

Robert G Hahn12* and Stefan Ljunggren13

Author Affiliations

1 Research Unit, Södertälje Hospital, Södertälje, Sweden

2 Department of Anesthesiology, Faculty of Health Sciences, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden

3 Karolinska Institutet, Department of Clinical Science and Education, Södersjukhuset, Stockholm, Sweden

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BMC Anesthesiology 2013, 13:39  doi:10.1186/1471-2253-13-39

Published: 4 November 2013



Insulin resistance negatively affects the outcome of surgery in patients with type 2 diabetes. This association is often believed to be present in other patient populations as well, but studies are lacking on the influence of preoperative insulin resistance on the clinical course of surgery in non-diabetic patients.


Sixty non-diabetic patients with a mean age of 68 years underwent a 75-min intravenous glucose tolerance test (IVGTT) one day before and after elective hip replacement surgery. Patients were regarded to be either insulin resistant (< median insulin sensitivity) or not (> median insulin sensitivity). Hypotensive events occurring in the postoperative care unit and complications in the orthopedic ward were recorded. Fatigue and well-being were assessed via questionnaires.


A total of 52 patients were included in the final analysis. Insulin resistance before surgery was associated with a lower risk of arterial hypotension in the postoperative care unit (systolic pressure < 80 mmHg; P < 0.05) and with fewer complications in the orthopedic ward (mean 1.9 versus 1.2 per operation, P < 0.01), particularly with respect to nausea/vomiting (P < 0.04) and arterial hypotension (P < 0.05). Fewer of these patients had more than one complication (23% versus 58%, P < 0.001), while no statistical link between preoperative insulin resistance and fatigue or well-being was evident. Insulin resistance, when measured one day postoperatively, did not correlate with the number of complications.


Preoperative insulin resistance offers some benefit in the postoperative period and early convalescence in non-diabetic patients who undergo hip replacement surgery.

Insulin resistance; Complication; Arthroplasty; Hip replacement