“Artificial Pancreas:” Help For Patients With Diabetes

There’s some good news for patients with diabetes that worry about the overnight highs and lows of glucose control.

A new smart insulin pump automates and personalizes basal insulin delivery 24 hours a day to stabilize blood sugar levels with less patient interaction required. Known as the hybrid closed loop system, the pump constantly self-adjusts to automatically keep sugar levels in range. The system works by wirelessly linking an insulin pump and a glucose monitor. When the system is in auto mode, it monitors blood sugar every five minutes and maintains the proper basal rate of insulin.

Specifically, the FDA-approved system helps patients with diabetes:

  • Wake up most mornings with an on-target blood sugar (e.g., 120 mg/dl).
  • Spend more time-in-range and less time spent at extreme high and low blood sugars throughout the day and especially at night.
  • Minimizes glucose variability (up-and-down swings).
  • Provides a peace of mind for parents and children with diabetes when the child spends the night away from home.

Each November communities across the country observe National Diabetes Month to bring attention to diabetes, its impact on millions of Americans, and advances in treatment. IU Health Arnett is one of the first hospitals in the state trying the new hybrid closed loop system for Type 1 diabetes – a disease that results when the pancreas stops producing insulin. To date, more than 30 patients are using the system, said Dr. Shannon Oates, who specializes in Endocrinology & Metabolism at IU Health Arnett Hospital.

“This technology is a significant breakthrough for patients with Type 1 diabetes as it will take on more of the work for patients and alleviate some of the mental burden associated with daily management,” said Dr. Oates. “I’m confident this therapy will improve patient outcomes as demonstrated by the pivotal trial that studied the device, and enhance quality of life.”

- T.J. Banes


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