By: Patrick Totty
A Texas endocrinologist who recently put the recently FDA-approved MedtroniciPro continuous glucose recorder through its paces with diabetic patients callsthe tool a major step forward in doctors' ability to accurately monitor thedisease.
Dr. Thomas Blevins, MD, an endocrinologist who specializes in diabetes,endocrinology, and internal medicine in Austin, Texas, studied 15 patients overa three- to four-month period using the device, which weighs about as much as aquarter.
Patients wore the device for three days at a time, during which it continuouslymonitored their blood glucose levels and stored the information. They thenreturned to Dr. Blevins and his colleagues, who downloaded data from therecorders onto their computers. The patients came back a few days later todiscuss the data.
"The data are revealing," says Dr. Blevins. "Sometimes three days' worth isn'tenough, but it's a start. We may find out that a patient needs to increase hisbolus or overnight insulin. We can show people on paper what's going on and pickup on things that finger sticks just can't." He compares finger sticks to"looking at five snapshots of your favorite movie. You get only sort of an ideaof what the movie's about instead of a real beginning, middle, and end."
Before the iPro, Dr. Blevins' patients had been using continuous glucosemonitoring technology that involved bulky recording devices and cables. "The bigdifference with the iPro is that it is much more compact, and it stores its datawithout having to connect to anything outside itself."
"Our patients were more than ready – they'd been waiting for something like thisfor a long time," he says. "They were pleased about its small size andnon-intrusiveness. I think patients in general will accept this easily."
Dr. Blevins calls the miniaturization of diabetes-related technology "an amazingdevelopment. Our diagnostic capabilities are now vastly improved. The diabetesworld just hasn't had diagnostic tools on the level of MRI or sleep apneamonitoring. Now we're beginning to."