The use of insulin pump therapy results in greater blood sugar control among children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes, according to new research.
While insulin pumps are less common in England and Wales than in the United States or Germany, Dr. Jennifer Sherr, Children’s Diabetes Program at the Yale School of Medicine says their use in paediatrics has “expanded dramatically.”
Sherr and her research team compared data from 54,410 children and adolescents between 2011 and 2012. Their data was collected from three pediatric type 1 diabetes registries: one in England and Wales, one in the US, and one covering Germany and Austria.
The method of insulin delivery and impact of pump use on HbA1c levels were compared, with findings accounting for age, sex and ethnic minority status.
Blood sugar control was poorer among patients in the England and Wales registry compared to the other two registries. 14 per cent of patients in the England and Wales registry used an insulin pump, while 41 per cent used a pump in the Germany and Austria registry, and 47 per cent used a pump in the United States registry.
Ethnic minorities were less likely to use a pump in all three regions. On average, 22 per cent of ethnic minority patients used a pump compared to 34 per cent of non-minorities.
Dr. Sherr said: “We’ve known that variations in pump use exist (…) but I was surprised that pump therapy wasn’t used more often than what we saw. I think there is a perception out there, people are concerned about being attached to something. Will a daycare provider, school nurse or teacher understand the technology I’m handing them?”
Sherr added that pumps might be less common in England and Wales due to restrictions from the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE). She also noted that while younger children were less likely to use pumps than older children, data has shown pumps to be effective for young children.
“We’re on this path toward finding a mechanical solution in the form of an artificial pancreas,” Sherr said, but children are still not being presented with the opportunity to have an insulin pump. “We need to get that to our kids.”
The findings were published in the online journal Diabetologia.

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