Publications by authors named "Nicola Fleming"

5 Publications

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An overview of COVID-19 in people with diabetes: Pathophysiology and considerations in the inpatient setting.

Diabet Med 2021 03 5;38(3):e14509. Epub 2021 Feb 5.

Department of Medicine Austin Health, Melbourne Medical School, The University of Melbourne, Austin Health, Heidelberg, Vic., Australia.

Introduction: The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has continued to have a devastating impact on health worldwide. There has been a rapid evolution of evidence, establishing an increased risk of morbidity and mortality associated with diabetes and concurrent COVID-19. The objective of this review is to explore the current evidence for inpatient assessment and management of diabetes during the COVID-19 pandemic and highlight areas requiring further exploration.

Methods: A literature search of databases was conducted to November 2020 using variations on keywords SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19, SARS, MERS and diabetes. Information relating to the impact of diabetes on severity of COVID-19 infection, the impact of COVID-19 infection on diabetes management and diabetes-related complications was integrated to create a narrative review.

Discussion: People with diabetes and COVID-19 are at an increased risk of morbidity and mortality. It is important that people with both known and previously unrecognised diabetes and COVID-19 be promptly identified and assessed during acute illness, with close monitoring for clinical deterioration or complications. People with diabetes may require titration or alteration of their glycaemic management due to the potential for worse outcomes with hyperglycaemia and COVID-19 infection. Comprehensive discharge planning is vital to optimise ongoing glycaemic management.

Conclusion: Further understanding of the risk of adverse outcomes and optimisation of glycaemic management for people with diabetes during COVID-19 is required to improve outcomes. Increased glucose and ketone monitoring, substitution of insulin for some oral anti-hyperglycaemic medications and careful monitoring for complications of diabetes such as diabetic ketoacidosis should be considered.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/dme.14509DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7883197PMC
March 2021

Variations in practice of thromboprophylaxis across general surgical subspecialties: a multicentre (PROTECTinG) study of elective major surgeries.

ANZ J Surg 2020 12 30;90(12):2441-2448. Epub 2020 Oct 30.

Department of Surgery, Austin Health, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Background: Despite guidelines recommending perioperative thromboprophylaxis for patients undergoing general surgery, we have observed significant variations in its practice. This may compromise patient safety. Here, we quantify the heterogeneity of perioperative thromboprophylaxis across all major general surgical operations, and place them in relation to their risk of bleeding and venous thromboembolism.

Methods: Retrospective review of all elective major general surgeries performed between 1 January 2018 and 30 June 2019 across seven Victorian hospitals was conducted.

Results: A total of 5912 patients who underwent 6628 procedures were reviewed. Significant heterogeneity was found in the use of chemoprophylaxis, timing of its initiation, type of anticoagulant administered and application of extended chemoprophylaxis. These variations were observed within the same procedure, and between different surgeries and subspecialties. Contrastingly, there was minimal heterogeneity with the use of mechanical thromboprophylaxis. Oesophago-gastric, liver and colorectal cancer resections had the highest thromboembolic risk. Breast, oesophago-gastric, liver, pancreas and colon cancer resections had the highest bleeding risk.

Conclusion: Perioperative chemoprophylaxis across general surgery is highly variable. This study has highlighted key areas of variance. Our findings also enable surgeons to compare their practices, and provide baseline data to inform future efforts towards optimizing thromboprophylaxis for general surgical patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ans.16374DOI Listing
December 2020

Considerations for people with diabetes during the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Diabetes Res Clin Pract 2020 Aug 3;166:108296. Epub 2020 Jul 3.

Department of Medicine, Austin Health, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia; Department of Endocrinology, Austin Health, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia; Department of Medicine, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Electronic address:

Introduction: The severe acute respiratory syndrome corona virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) continues to cause havoc globally, resulting in unprecedented healthcare, societal and economic disruption. People with diabetes have been shown to be at higher risk of complications and death when exposed to pneumonia, influenza and other coronaviruses. Despite pandemic scale infection, there is currently limited understanding on the potential impact of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on people with diabetes.

Aims: (1) To characterise the outcomes of COVID-19 for people with diabetes and (2) add value to current recommendations for healthcare providers and people with diabetes to encourage optimal management.

Methods: A search of PubMed, Embase and MEDLINE to March 2020 was undertaken, using search terms pertaining to diabetes, coronavirus and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). We briefly reviewed the epidemiology and pathophysiology of SARS-CoV-2 in the context of diabetes.

Conclusion: People with diabetes are at greater risk of severe infection and death with COVID-19. COVID-19 has significantly impacted the daily lives of individuals living with diabetes through financial implications, food and medication scarcity and its burden on mental health. In Australia, delivery of medical care has been adapted to reduce the risk of transmission, with a particular emphasis on telehealth and remote monitoring.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.diabres.2020.108296DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7332442PMC
August 2020

Pre-operative and intra-operative chemical thromboprophylaxis increases bleeding risk following elective cholecystectomy: a multicentre (PROTECTinG) study.

ANZ J Surg 2020 12 9;90(12):2449-2455. Epub 2020 Jun 9.

Department of Surgery, Austin Health, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Background: Cholecystectomy is commonly performed in general surgery. Despite guidelines recommending chemical thromboprophylaxis in the perioperative period, the most appropriate time for its initiation is unknown. Here, we investigated whether timing of chemoprophylaxis affected venous thromboembolism (VTE) and bleeding rates post-cholecystectomy.

Methods: Retrospective review of all elective cholecystectomies performed between 1 January 2018 and 30 June 2019, across seven Victorian hospitals. Clinical VTE was defined as imaging-proven symptomatic disease within 30 days of surgery. Major bleeding was defined as the need for blood transfusion, surgical intervention or >20 g/L fall in haemoglobin from baseline.

Results: A total of 1744 cases were reviewed. Chemoprophylaxis was given early (pre- or intra-operatively), post-operatively or not given in 847 (48.6%), 573 (32.9%) and 324 (18.6%) patients, respectively. This varied significantly between surgeons, fellows, trainees and institutions. Clinical VTE occurred in 5 (0.3%) patients and was not associated with chemoprophylaxis timing. Bleeding occurred in 42 (2.4%) patients. Of this, half were major events, requiring surgical control in 5 (11.9%) patients and blood transfusion in 9 (21.4%) patients. Bleeding also extended length of stay (mean (SD), 3.1 (4.0) versus 1.4 (2.2) days, P < 0.001). One bleeding-related mortality was recorded. Importantly, when compared with post-operative (risk ratio 1.46, 95% confidence interval 1.21-1.62) and no (RR 1.23, 95% CI 1.03-1.35) chemoprophylaxis, early usage significantly increased bleeding risk and independently predicted its occurrence.

Conclusions: Perioperative chemoprophylaxis is variable among patients undergoing elective cholecystectomy. The rate of clinical VTE post-cholecystectomy is low. Early chemoprophylaxis increases bleeding risk without an appreciable additional protection from VTE.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ans.15998DOI Listing
December 2020

Evolving Evidence of Diabetic Ketoacidosis in Patients Taking Sodium-Glucose Cotransporter 2 Inhibitors.

J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2020 08;105(8)

Department of Medicine, Austin Health, Heidelberg, Victoria, Australia.

Introduction: Sodium glucose cotransporter 2 inhibitors (SGLT2i) have emerged as an important class of blood glucose-lowering medications, due to cardiovascular, metabolic, and renal benefits. However, there is a small but significant risk of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) associated with their use.

Methods: A literature search was conducted in Ovid MEDLINE and Embase to July 2019 using variants on the key search terms sodium-glucose cotransporter 2, diabetic ketoacidosis, and type 2 diabetes. A broad spectrum of evidence was incorporated to facilitate a comprehensive narrative review. Further sources were identified through hand searching of reference lists.

Discussion: Although cardiovascular outcome trials demonstrated mixed evidence of SGLT2i associated DKA, increasing evidence from case reports and cohort studies has identified an increased risk. SGLT2i use is associated with a ketotic state caused by an increased glucagon:insulin ratio and stimulated by factors including stress-induced hormonal changes, insufficient insulin, decreased glucose, increased ketone resorption, and hypovolemia. Atypical presentations of DKA with lower-than-expected blood glucose levels are possible with SGLT2i use, so clinical and biochemical monitoring is vital for early identification and management. DKA risk is particularly increased with precipitating factors, therefore optimization of risk factors is vital. Recommendations for perioperative and sick day management of patients taking SGLT2i have been suggested based on available evidence.

Conclusion: SGLT2i are an excellent class of drug in the physician's toolkit for managing type 2 diabetes. However, both clinicians and patients must be aware of the potential for DKA and the need for increased monitoring, both clinically and biochemically, when potential precipitating factors are present. In acutely unwell patients, these medications should be withheld to reduce the risk of DKA.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1210/clinem/dgaa200DOI Listing
August 2020