In a significant development for the pediatric diabetes and endocrinology program at Riley Children’s Health, a recent study is analyzing the usage of continuous glucose monitors (CGM) among pediatric patients.
Through the Indiana University School of Medicine, a medical student’s research is investigating the inconsistencies of alarm settings of CGMs, offering valuable implications for children and their families.
Since their approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1999, CGMs have provided diabetic patients with real-time, blood glucose-level readings. But regardless of this technological advancement, there is often a lack of knowledge behind the device’s alarm settings, where patients are inaccurately setting these alarms to stay alert on glucose changes. That is why Victoria Ochs, an IU School of Medicine student, recently worked with the pediatric diabetes and endocrinology program at Riley Children’s to seek answers behind CGMs and their alarm usage among young patients.
As a result, through a study that evaluated CGM alarm habits from 150 patients, findings showed that 87 percent of these participants set low alarm alerts, while 73 percent had configured high alarm alerts. Additionally, alarm usage was far more prevalent among children using insulin pumps and those who were under the age of 12.
“This study sheds light on the variability of real-time CGM alarms in pediatric populations,” Ochs said. “Results show that there might be some areas where patients and caregivers need more guidance and training to use CGMs and their alarms correctly. Fixing these gaps could help kids with diabetes better control their glucose levels and overall health.”
Results also revealed significant variability of alarm settings and cutoffs, which likely underscore potential education gaps during CGM onboarding. From here, Ochs has plans to better optimize alarm use.
Funded by the Short-Term Training Program in Biomedical Sciences Grant T35 HL 110854 from the National Institutes of Health, Ochs’ groundbreaking research was also presented at the Endocrine Society’s “ENDO 2023” this year. There were more than 7,000 people in attendance, with her presentation particularly being recognized for the impact it has made to the pediatric diabetes community.
“As a type 1 diabetic for 13 years and a CGM user myself, I am passionate about helping other people with diabetes so that they may live more comfortable lives,” Ochs said. “I hope my research brings extra awareness to the importance of proper CGM use for families with diabetes so more young patients are better prepared to use their devices safely and correctly.”
With the novel work stewarded by Ochs and the diabetology team at Riley Children’s, patients are continually benefiting from improved diabetes management and enhanced care. Learn more in the annual report.