A new technology promising hope to type I diabetic patients was introduced by diabetologist Dr Abhay Mutha in the city on Wednesday.
The device called the ‘MiniMed Paradigm insulin pump’ can suspend insulin delivery when the device senses that glucose levels have fallen or is below a user-selected threshold. This feature is intended to reduce the severity of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) in situations where patients ignore or are unable to treat it.
Insulin pumps are pager-like devices attached to the front wall of the abdomen of a patient. The machine has a supply of insulin and patients don’t have to remember when to take doses as insulin gets injected regularly.
Dr Abhay Mutha said, “Insulin pumps are being recommended for growing number of people with type-1 and type-2 diabetes. This new device is the first big step towards ‘closing the loop’ in diabetes management. Unlike other pumps available in market, this device has a integrated continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) system. It enables the detection of dangerously low glucose levels and can automatically suspend insulin delivery by the pump, thereby preventing severe hypoglycemia event in the patients.”
He added that pregnant mothers having diabetes can benefit from such technology to optimise their insulin level.
He said, “If patient’s glucose levels have dropped below a defined threshold, the device alarms to alert the patient. If these alarms are ignored, the insulin pump automatically suspends insulin delivery up to two hours. This helps to protect the patient against potentially dangerous hypoglycemic,” added Mutha.
However, he accepted that the cost of the device (nearly Rs3.6lakh) is prohibitive for most patients. “Through our NGO, we give away about 7-8 insulin pumps annually, but we agree that many patients cannot afford the pumps,” he said.