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Improving blood sugar control before surgery

During your recent pre-operative assessment visit the result of your HbA1c blood test was high (greater than 69 mmol/ mol). This test is used to monitor diabetes and usually means that your blood sugar has been high, on average, during the last three months.


We know that high blood sugars in the time around and during surgery are associated with more complications after surgery, especially related to infections, heart attacks and strokes. The best current evidence suggests that complications after surgery approximately double when blood sugar is high.


Your HbA1c blood test result is not so high that we need to delay your operation and/or your operation is too urgent to delay while your diabetes management is reviewed but we believe you can reduce your risk of complications by improving your blood sugar control in the time before your operation.


We suggest you pay extra attention to your diabetes management before your operation and contact your normal diabetes management team if you would like specific advice.


You should have received patient information leaflets from the pre-assessment clinic with advice on how to manage your normal diabetes medications on the day before surgery and during pre-operative starvation (if not please contact the pre-assessment clinic on 01604 544265).

Ideally we would like you to arrive on the day of surgery with a blood sugar between 6 and 12 mmol/l. Values outside that range may require action that could delay or even cancel your operation. Some patients will need intravenous insulin to control their blood sugar during and after surgery but in most cases it can be avoided if the blood sugar is in the ideal range before surgery.


If you don’t currently monitor your blood sugar levels please contact your practice nurse who may be able to lend you a monitor if it is appropriate.


Other information

Northampton General Hospital operates a smoke-free policy. This means that smoking is not allowed anywhere on the Trust site, this includes all buildings, grounds and car parks. Leaflets, information, advice and support on giving up smoking and on nicotine replacement therapy are available from the local Stop Smoking helpline on 0845 6013116, the free national helpline on 0300 123 1044, email: and pharmacies.


Car parking at Northampton General Hospital is extremely limited and it is essential to arrive early, allowing ample time for parking. You may find it more convenient to be dropped off and collected.


This information can be provided in other languages and formats upon request including Braille, audio cassette and CD. Please contact (01604) 544516 or the Patient Advice & Liaison Service (PALS) on (01604) 545784, email:


Last updated May 2018

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