Twenty-four-year-old Srilaxmi Masam is probably the first patient in a state-run hospital to have an insulin pump (artificial pancreas) implanted in her body to control sugar level.
Before being admitted to JJ hospital, Masam had already spent four months in various hospitals to control her fluctuating sugar level, which caused serious health problems.
A second year management student of Burhani College, Byculla, Masam since childhood suffered from Type 1 diabetes. In this condition, she is unable to produce insulin to help maintain her sugar level. She is completely dependent on insulin, which she has to inject twice-a-day.
In September, Masam was infected with tuberculosis, which further worsened her condition. She already has a weak immune system because of diabetes and being infected with TB affected her lungs. This caused her breathlessness, nausea and at times she became unconscious. Masam had to be put on a ventilator at the KEM Hospital. Seeing no difference in her condition, her family shifted her to Lilavati Hospital, where she went into a coma for six days.
After six days, she regained conscious but was unable to breathe and was on a ventilator for 15 days. She remained in the ICU for six weeks. After spending several weeks in hospitals with no cure, the family admitted her to JJ Hospital under Dr Hemant Gupta, professor medicine department.
“For the last four months, life has been very painful. We tried everything but we could not get a positive result, so by November end, we admitted her to JJ. Considering the seriousness of her problem, the doctors advised us to implant an insulin pump. We agreed and thank god, it worked.
For the past three days, her sugar level are under control,” said Sujata, Srilaxmi’s mother.
“After going through her reports, we decided to implant the insulin, which is mostly used in private hospitals but we decided to use it on this girl. In three days, we found a tremendous improvement in her condition,” Saud Dr Gupta. Masam is being kept under observation and her sugar level are in control.
“This is a life-long device. But once you adjust the dosage, it automatically gets recorded and the patient does not need to touch the pump. This device does not weight more than 100-gm,” added Dr Gupta.
For a good life, pump it up
The insulin pump is a medical device used for the administration of insulin in the treatment of diabetes mellitus, also known as continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion therapy. An insulin pump is composed of a disposable reservoir for insulin (inside the pump), a battery operated pump and computer chip that allows the user to control the quantity of the insulin being pumped.
Probably the most exciting innovation in pump technology is the ability to pump in tandem with a glucose sensing technology, known as an artificial pancreas that administers insulin-based on the actual glucose level determined by the glucose sensor.
Doctor’s implant the pump inside a patient’s lower abdomen. They can easily operate it through a small controller. Patients have to change the cartridge on a regular basis.