Diabetes breakthrough trialled in NI

Published Wednesday, 04 June 2014
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A device which could revolutionise the lives of people with diabetes has been piloted by the South Eastern Trust - the first region in the world to use it.

2 clips available

The d-Nav Insulin Guidance Device was tested by more than 150 patients with both type one and type two diabetes at the Ulster Hospital in Dundonald over the past 18 months.

It is around the size of a mobile phone and allows users to easily regulate their own insulin, which doctors say is crucial in the battle to control an illness which presents a huge health problem in Northern Ireland, affecting some 80,000 people, and can lead to blindness or loss of limbs.

Dr Roy Harper described the d-Nav as being like a "doctor in your pocket".

He said: "It is really straight forward and simple and very clever in what it does. It is like having me with you all of the time because it looks for patterns in your blood sugars and then gives insulin.

"In our evaluation with the patients it worked very, very well for many patients. It is like having a doctor in your pocket, an expert in your pocket with you all of the time. Every time you check your blood sugars and every time you need to inject your insulin it gives you that guidance ongoing."

Treating diabetes in Northern Ireland costs £400m per year and the number of patients is rising.

It is hoped the new device, developed by an American company and costing around £90 a month, will reduce the number of times people with diabetes need to visit their doctor.

Michael Anyadike-Danes, who took part in the trial, said: "When I took my reading just before lunch it told me that my sugar level was higher than it should have been - about 8.2 rather than 7 - then advised me that I needed to take a little bit more insulin than I otherwise would at lunch.

"A normal test would just tell me I was 8.2, then I would have a prescription which was given to me when I was last at the hospital, possibly six months ago, telling me to take the same amount of insulin each day.

"That is not then adjusted for my current condition, so this allows me to react."

Although the d-Nav device may not be suitable for all patients, and it may take some time before it is more widely available, experts at the Ulster Hospital are convinced it represents a significant breakthrough in the fight to control diabetes both in NI and across the world.

Discussions are now taking place to introduce it in more trust areas here.

© UTV News
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5 Comments
Dr Steven Kinnear in Belfast wrote (133 days ago):
Dear Elaine and Pamela, there are two key differences between the d-Nav and the devices you are currently using. Firstly, the devices you are using are useful for patients using bolus doses of the rapid acting insulins. They do not work for patients using premixed insulins and basal insulins. About 50% of insulin users are treated with premixed or basal insulin so they cannot use bolus wizards. The d-Nav device supports all commonly used insulin regimens including basal and premixed. Secondly, bolus wizards help patients calculate their pre-meal bolus using a fixed formula that has two components – one to compensate for the food to be eaten and another to compensate for any pre-meal elevation in the blood glucose. The bolus wizard does this using a fixed formula programmed by the patient’s health care team. A similar fixed formula is used to adjust for carb counting. Some patients have been trained to make adjustments to the formula themselves but research shows they only do this for a short time after being trained. The difference with the d-Nav is that it analyses blood glucose patterns rather than just the current reading, so if the pre-meal blood glucose is high at lunch time a bolus wizard will increase the lunch time dosage to compensate but d-Nav will increase the breakfast time dosage so that the pre-meal blood glucose at lunch time is no longer high. The d-Nav also adjusts the dosing formula on a weekly basis. In addition it will adjust basal insulin. In the video John Ralph says, “d-Nav dropped my bedtime dose from 23 to 16 units”. The net effect of this is described by Dr Roy Harper as “like having a doctor in your pocket”.
Liam T in newry wrote (137 days ago):
I would be very interested in this as my diabeties spirilials out of countrol struggle to focous that i am actualy a dieabetic cant read r judge my carbs unlike sum normal folk the help ive been getting is grinn and bare it legs in sever pain with complainations so how and were to i get this new device
Kathy in Belfast wrote (137 days ago):
I am on the d-nav for 5 weeks now, I have put on nearly 1 stone in weight & am very disappointed. This device is very clever in theory but its not stable with me yet. It told me to take 13 units a few mornings ago but I knew that was too much so I only took 8. I still had a hypo of 3.8 mid-morning (even though I had a full breakfast) so if Id had the 13 units I would've been unconscious!!! Still trying to work it out.
Pamela in Co Armagh wrote (138 days ago):
This so called "breakthrough" is very misleading. This is not a breakthrough as I do this on a daily basis with my freestyle Lite check and carbohydrate counting. I have type 1 diabetes . The patients interviewed haven't been taught how to adjust their insulin like those who count carbs - therefore the DHSSPS are lacking on the education side of things. I am in the Southern Trust and find the level of care brilliant.
Elaine in Co Antrim wrote (138 days ago):
How is this any kind of breakthrough? The Accu-chek Expert meter has been around for years and does exactly the same thing. It advises the correct amount of insulin to take and adjusts for levels too high or too low AND it's a lit smaller than this device. 580 insulin pumps currently sitting in cupboards in NI hospitals - if allocated to people who need them then that would be a breakthrough and would actually help people to control their type 1 diabetes more effectively.
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