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PLoS One. 2016 Apr 6;11(4):e0153033. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0153033. eCollection 2016.

Insulin Pump Therapy Is Associated with Lower Rates of Retinopathy and Peripheral Nerve Abnormality.

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  • 1Institute of Endocrinology and Diabetes, The Children's Hospital at Westmead, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
  • 2Department of Paediatrics & Changing Diabetes in Children Program, Bangladesh Institute of Research and Rehabilitation in Diabetes, Endocrine and Metabolic Disorders, Dhaka, Bangladesh.
  • 3School of Women's and Children's Health, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
  • 4Discipline of Paediatrics and Child Health, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
  • 5Ophthalmology Department, The Children's Hospital at Westmead, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.



To compare rates of microvascular complications in adolescents with type 1 diabetes treated with continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion (CSII) versus multiple daily injections (MDI).


Prospective cohort of 989 patients (aged 12-20 years; diabetes duration >5 years) treated with CSII or MDI for >12 months. Microvascular complications were assessed from 2000-14: early retinopathy (seven-field fundal photography), peripheral nerve function (thermal and vibration threshold testing), autonomic nerve abnormality (heart rate variability analysis of electrocardiogram recordings) and albuminuria (albumin creatinine ratio/timed overnight albumin excretion). Generalized estimating equations (GEE) were used to examine the relationship between treatment and complications rates, adjusting for socio-economic status (SES) and known risk factors including HbA1c and diabetes duration.


Comparing CSII with MDI: HbA1C was 8.6% [70mmol/mol] vs. 8.7% [72 mmol/mol]) (p = 0.7), retinopathy 17% vs. 22% (p = 0.06); microalbuminuria 1% vs. 4% (p = 0.07), peripheral nerve abnormality 27% vs. 33% (p = 0.108) and autonomic nerve abnormality 24% vs. 28% (p = 0.401). In multivariable GEE, CSII use was associated with lower rates of retinopathy (OR 0.66, 95% CI 0.45-0.95, p = 0.029) and peripheral nerve abnormality (OR 0.63, 95% CI 0.42-0.95, p = 0.026), but not albuminuria (OR 0.46, 95% CI 0.10-2.17, p = 0.33). SES was not associated with any of the complication outcomes.


In adolescents, CSII use is associated with lower rates of retinopathy and peripheral nerve abnormality, suggesting an apparent benefit of CSII over MDI independent of glycemic control or SES.

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