Wesley among first in world to provide proactive insulin pumps for diabetics

20 April 2015

There are now 118,000 Australians living with type 1 diabetes and 100 per cent of these people require insulin to manage their diabetes.

Photo of Ten-year-old Conrad with type 1 diabetes Ten-year-old Conrad was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes earlier this year and is now the first in Queensland and among the first in the world to receive a new style of insulin pump that proactively monitors and predicts low glucose levels.

Paediatric Endocrinologist Dr Andrew Cotterill provided Conrad with the latest model insulin pump in January at The Wesley Hospital’s Paediatric  and Adolescent Service.

The insulin pump, the Medtronic MiniMed 640G System, developed by a doctor in Perth in a world first, is  considered the latest breakthrough toward an artificial pancreas for people living with diabetes.

Dr Cotterill said the new style of insulin pump has an additional feature that can continuously monitor glucose levels, providing additional safety for users.

“The pump automatically suspends delivery of insulin when glucose levels are predicted to approach a low limit and resumes delivery once glucose levels recover,” Dr Cotterill said.

“The problem with traditional pumps, whilst they deliver a constant rate of insulin to keep glucose levels in the desired range, they can sometimes result in a hypoglycaemic event before suspending insulin.

“This new device, MiniMed 640G, continually tracks glucose levels and shuts off insulin up to 30 minutes prior to a predicted hypoglycaemic event thus preventing it occurring.”

Dr Cotterill said in extreme circumstances attacks can result in coma, seizure or even death. Most attacks occur when the patient is asleep.

The small portable device, small enough to fit in a pocket, is connected by a tiny tube inserted under the skin near the waist. It drips steadily giving small, precise amounts of insulin, mimicking the biological function of the pancreas.

To make a referral, contact Dr Andrew Cotterill on 07 3393 1916 or fax 3891 7445.

Media Enquiries
General: wesley.media@uchealth.com.au
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