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Outcomes and hospital admission patterns in patients with diabetes during Ramadan versus a non-fasting period

Abdulwahab Elbarsha,ab Maisoon Elhemri,a Sami A. Lawgaly,a Ashraf Rajab,a Badia Almoghrabi,a Rafik Ramadan Elmehdawia

From the aDepartment of Medicine, Benghazi Medical Center, Benghazi, Libya; bDepartment of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Benghazi, Benghazi, Libya

How to cite this article:

Elbarsha A, Elhemri M, Lawgaly SA, Rajab A, Almoghrabi B, Elmehdawi RR. Outcomes in patients with diabetes admitted to the hospital during Ramadan versus a non-fasting period. Ann Saudi Med 2018; 38(5): 344-351.


BACKGROUND: Fasting during Ramadan is a challenge for Muslim patients with diabetes and for their healthcare providers. However, data on the effects of Ramadan fasting on hospital admissions and outcomes in patients with diabetes are scarce.


OBJECTIVES: Evaluate the characteristics of patients with diabetes admitted during the fasting month of Ramadan compared with the non-fasting month of Dhu al-Qidah. 


DESIGN: A retrospective cohort study medical record review.


SETTING: A university teaching hospital.


PATIENTS AND METHODS: We reviewed the records of all patients with diabetes admitted to the medical department at Benghazi Medical Center, including medical ward, intensive care unit and coronary care unit, during the months of Ramadan and Dhu al-Qidah, 2016. We compared differences in reasons for admission, length of stay and in-hospital mortality between patients admitted during Ramadan and Dhu al-Qidah and between patients who were fasting at time of admission during Ramadan and those who were not.


MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Main reason for admission, length of stay and in-hospital mortality rate.


SAMPLE SIZE: 402 patients with diabetes.


RESULTS: During Ramadan, 186 patients were admitted compared with 216 during Dhul al-Qidah. There was no statistically significant difference in reasons for admission, length of hospital stay, or in-hospital mortality (borderline for mortality, P=.078), between patients with diabetes admitted during Ramadan and Dhu al-Qidah. Of those admitted in Ramadan, 59.1% were fasting on admission. Fasting patients admitted during Ramadan had a significantly higher proportion of the diseases of the circulatory system when compared with non-fasting patients (39.4% vs. 23.6%, P=.028) while in-hospital mortality was higher in non-fasting patients (29.2% vs. 8.7%, P<.001). There was no significant difference in length of stay between fasting and non-fasting patients.


CONCLUSIONS: The frequency of admissions for most medical con.ditions were not changed during Ramadan but the frequency of acute coronary syndrome was higher in those who were fasting on admission. Patients with diabetes who were not fasting on admission had more high-risk features that prevented them from fasting and therefore are at increased risk of in-hospital mortality. 


LIMITATIONS: Single center and retrospective.





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