Is 50% dextrose as good as 10% dextrose for treating symptomatic hypoglycemia?
If the patient is disoriented, but becomes oriented before the full dose of dextrose is given, is it appropriate to continue to treat the patient as if the patient were still disoriented? If your protocols require you to keep giving dextrose, do the same protocols require you to keep giving opioids after the pain is relieved? Is there really any difference?
50% dextrose has problems.
Animal models have demonstrated the toxic effect of glucose infusions in the settings of cardiac arrest and stroke.2 Experimental data suggests that hyperglycemia is neurotoxic to patients in the setting of acute illness.1,3 
Furthermore, extravasation can cause necrosis.
I expect juries to look at this kind of image and say, Somebody has to take one for the 50% dextrose team. We can’t expect EMS to change.
Is 10% dextrose practical?
Won’t giving less concentrated dextrose delay treatment?
The median initial field blood glucose was 38 mg/dL (IQR = 28 mg/dL – 47 mg/dL), with subsequent blood glucose median of 98 mg/dL (IQR = 70 mg/dL – 135 mg/dL). Elapsed time after D10 administration before recheck was not uniform, with a median time to recheck of eight minutes (IQR = 5 minutes – 12 minutes).
If that is going to slow your system down, is it because you are transporting patients before they wake up?
Did anyone require more than 10 grams of 10% dextrose, as opposed to 25 grams of 50% dextrose?
Of 164 patients, 29 (18%) received an additional dose of intravenous D10 solution in the field due to persistent or recurrent hypoglycemia, and one patient required a third dose.
18% received a second dose, which is 20 grams of dextrose and still less than the total dose of 25 grams of dextrose given according to EMS protocols that still use 50% dextrose.
Only one patient, out of 164 patients, required a third dose. That is 30 grams of dextrose.
Only one patient, out of 164 patients, received as much as we would give according to the typical EMS protocol, which should be a thing of the past. If we are routinely giving too much to our patients, is that a good thing? Why?
Maybe the blood sugars were not that low to begin with.
The average was 38 mg/dL, which is not high.
Maybe the change in blood sugar was small after just 10 grams of dextrose, rather than 25 grams.
The average (mean) change was 67 mg/dL, which is enough to get a patient with a blood sugar of 3 up to 70.
Maybe the blood sugar was not high enough after just 10 grams of dextrose, rather than 25 grams.
The average (mean) repeat blood sugar was 106 mg/dL, which is more than enough.
Maybe it took a long time to treat patients this way.
The average (mean) time was 9 minutes, which is not a lot of time.
Is this perfect?
Three patients had a drop in blood glucose after D10 administration: one patient had a drop of 1 mg/dL; one patient had a drop of 10 mg/dL; and one patient had a drop of 19 mg/dL.
All patients, even the three with initial drops in blood sugar (one had an insulin pump still pumping while being treated) had normal blood sugars at the end of EMS contact.
10% dextrose is cheaper, just as fast, probably less likely to cause hyperglycemia, probably less likely to cause rebound hypoglycemia, probably less likely to cause problems with extravasation, less of a problem with drug shortages, . . . .
Why are we still resisting switching to 10% dextrose?
 Dextrose 10% in the treatment of out-of-hospital hypoglycemia.
Kiefer MV, Gene Hern H, Alter HJ, Barger JB.
Prehosp Disaster Med. 2014 Apr;29(2):190-4. doi: 10.1017/S1049023X14000284. Epub 2014 Apr 15.
PMID: 24735872 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
 Images in emergency medicine. Dextrose extravasation causing skin necrosis.
Levy SB, Rosh AJ.
Ann Emerg Med. 2006 Sep;48(3):236, 239. Epub 2006 Feb 17. No abstract available.
PMID: 16934641 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
Kiefer MV, Gene Hern H, Alter HJ, & Barger JB (2014). Dextrose 10% in the treatment of out-of-hospital hypoglycemia. Prehospital and disaster medicine, 29 (2), 190-4 PMID: 24735872
Levy SB, & Rosh AJ (2006). Images in emergency medicine. Dextrose extravasation causing skin necrosis. Annals of emergency medicine, 48 (3) PMID: 16934641