New data from Diabetes UK suggest that an ‘artificial pancreas’ can improve inhospital care of patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), without increasing hypoglycaemic risk.
Findings come from a trial that took place in the United Kingdom and Switzerland. 136 patients with T2DM requiring insulin to manage their condition were randomly assigned to receive insulin therapy either through artificial pancreas or standard insulin injections for up to 15 days or until discharge from hospital.
Average time spent with blood glucose levels in the target range (5.6-10.0 mmol/L) was 24.2% higher in patients using artificial pancreas vs those who received insulin injections. Patients using artificial pancreas also had lower average blood glucose levels (8.5 vs 10.5 mmol/L). These results were achieved without increasing their daily insulin dose and without an increased risk for hypoglycaemia.
These findings are particularly important considering a recent data from National Diabetes Inpatient Audit 2017, which shows that hospital care for patients with diabetes in England and Wales is falling short of expectations. 31% of inpatients with diabetes experienced a medication error and 18% had hypoglycaemia during hospital stay. These episodes can prolong hospital stays and increase risk for associated health problems.
Scientists at Diabetes UK believe that artificial pancreas could transform inhospital care for patients with T2DM. Dr. Elizabeth Robertson, Director of Research, Diabetes UK, commented: “This important study shows that the artificial pancreas system could help people with T2DM to manage their condition while they’re in hospital, building the evidence needed to offer this type of support to people in hospitals in the future.”