Study: Insulin pumps improve glycemic control in children with diabetes

A new Australian 7-year study showed that insulin pumps improved glycemic control and reduced hypoglycemia compared with insulin injections among children with Type 1 diabetes. It was the largest study of insulin pump use in children and had the longest follow-up period of any study to date.

Researchers at the Princess Margaret Hospital for Children in Perth, with funding from Novo Nordisk ($NVO), found that children between the ages of 2 and 19 who used an insulin pump had on average 0.6% reduced blood sugar, a difference that remained for all 7 years, according to the study in the journal Diabetologia.

The study also showed that insulin pumps reduced the number of episodes of severe hypoglycemia, cutting it in half in the first year of pump therapy from 14.7 events per patient per year to 7.2. For those children on injection therapy, however, severe events increased in number from 6.8 to 10.2.

The study notes that "it does reflect 'real life' experience in a large population-based sample over a prolonged period" and concluded that "insulin pump therapy is associated with a significant improvement in glycemic control, which is sustained over many years."

"Most studies report an improvement in HbA1c associated with pump therapy, although some report no improvement or an initial improvement followed by a return to pre-pump levels after a short time," the researchers wrote in the study.

And in an email to MedPage Today, lead author Elizabeth Davis wrote: "We know that long-term glycemic control correlates with chronic microvascular complications, so we would predict that over a longer period of time this improvement in HbA1c will be associated with reduced microvascular complications."

- here's the study in Diabetologia (PDF)
- and here's the MedPage Today report