Current practice of insulin pump therapy in children and adolescents – the Hannover recipe

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Increasing evidence points to the importance of achieving low blood glucose variability and also a low hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) to prevent diabetic late complications. Continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion (CSII) is associated with lower blood glucose variability in children. Frequent indications for starting CSII in youth are recurrent hypoglycemia, need for increased flexibility, poor glycemic control, dawn phenomenon, or needle phobia. At our center, about one-third of all patients across all age groups are currently on CSII. Although the average glycemic control is not very different from those on multiple daily injections, fewer patients are seen in the segment of very high and very low HbA1c with CSII. Across centers, the ‘recipes’ tailoring CSII treatment to individual patients and cultures are based more on experience than on evidence. However, several typical pediatric features have been identified. Patterns of the hourly basal rate and prandial insulin requirements vary with age. While many adolescents have increased requirements at dawn and dusk, young children show increasing needs in the second half of the day. Low insulin requirements, particularly in neonates, may need insulin dilution. The selection of catheters and needles has to be appropriate for the age. The opportunity to have an electronic memory read-out of all entries and alarms offers new possibilities of therapeutic monitoring, particularly in those youth not keeping good logbooks. This feature can be helpful, if a trustful relationship between the diabetes team and the family is established.

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