Diabetes patients in the UK and Ireland will be the first in the world to use a new technology which mimics key elements of the human pancreas. This new device can automatically suspend insulin delivery to reduce the severity of low blood sugar, even when a person is asleep or unable to react.
The Paradigm Veo System includes an insulin pump with continuous glucose monitoring (provided by means of a separate sensor and transmitter). The patient uses readings from the monitor in conjunction with occasional confirmatory fingerstick measurements to understand their current glucose level, and program the insulin pump to deliver the appropriate amount of insulin. Insulin combats high blood sugar, a key cause of heart disease and other long-term complications in type 1 diabetes.
However, if data transmitted from the sensor show that the patient’s glucose levels have dropped below a defined threshold, the insulin pump automatically suspends insulin delivery for up to two hours. This helps to protect against potentially dangerous hypoglycaemic events.
While some patients can experience ‘warning signs’ before a hypoglycaemic event (such as feeling shaky, sweating, tingling in the lips, going pale, heart pounding, confusion and irritability), others do not experience any warning signs at all.
Dr Peter Hammond, Consultant Diabetologist, Harrogate Hospital, comments: “This latest technology is a significant breakthrough which will help people with diabetes to control their condition. In order to reduce the long-term risk of diabetes-related complications, which can cause blindness, kidney failure and heart attacks, patients have to try and aggressively lower their blood glucose levels to get them as near normal as possible. Doing this significantly increases their risk of severe hypoglycaemia, which can render a patient unconscious—and if recurrent—can have very serious consequences. Paradigm Veo alerts the patient if their glucose levels drop too low, and stops them getting more insulin if they don’t respond to the alert. Having this safety feature takes us a step closer to an artificial pancreas, and allows patients to get greater control over their blood glucose levels. This will have a huge impact on the patient’s quality of life, giving them greater flexibility and reducing anxiety, and protecting them against the long-term health complications of diabetes.”
Commenting on the importance of this development, Karen Addington, Chief Executive of Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, the world’s leading charitable funder of type 1 diabetes research said: “There are about 350,000 people in the UK living with type 1 diabetes, of whom 25,000 are children. Achieving good blood glucose control can be difficult but significantly reduces the risk of long term complications, so access to developments in treatments and technology, such as this, are vital to keep people with type 1 diabetes as healthy as possible, until we find the cure.”
Recent positive guidance from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) (http://www.nice.org.uk/Guidance/TA151) indicates that devices such as the Paradigm Veo can be funded by the NHS for certain patients with type 1 diabetes.
Paradigm Veo System includes an insulin pump, a glucose sensor and a transmitter, integrating Continuous Subcutaneous Insulin Infusion (CSII) with Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM*). Patients can use the Paradigm Veo insulin pump to deliver insulin without the glucose sensor and transmitter.
The system comes in five colour options with a range of accessories and adhesive SKINs to cover the insulin pump which allow patients to personalise their device.
More information is available at: www.medtronic.co.uk
*What is CGM?
With a blood glucose meter, you use blood to do the test, whereas CGM is continuous glucose monitoring. It is not blood glucose monitoring, as the sensors used are placed into body but not into the bloodstream. The sensors measure the glucose in your interstitial fluid (i.e, what’s in and around your body’s cells).
The relationship between glucose concentrations in interstitial fluid (ISF) and blood has generated great interest due to the possibility of gaining up to 288 glucose level readings a day without having to do finger pricks.
Basically, it’s a less invasive technique for measuring glucose. CGM can be used whether you wear a pump or use injections for your insulin delivery. CGM systems work 24 hours a day and can include alarms to indicate when your glucose levels are too high or too low.
You should speak to your healthcare team if you’re interested in finding out more about whether a pump may be a good option for you. As there are different price options for CGM systems — depending on which monitor you choose and whether they are reimbursed or self-funded.