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Diabetes Educ. 2005 Jul-Aug;31(4):584-90.

Case study: contrasting challenges of insulin pump therapy in a toddler and adolescent with type 1 diabetes.

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Department of Pediatrics, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA.



To describe the challenges and outcomes of continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion (CSII) pump therapy in a toddler and adolescent with type 1 diabetes. Insight into patient-family aspects motivating pump use is provided.


Two cases treated at the Pediatric Diabetes Clinic at Yale University.


Upon parental request, CSII was initiated to improve glycemic control in a 4-year-old boy (case 1) with unpredictable food intake. During 68 months of CSII therapy, hemoglobin A1C levels averaged 6.3% +/- 0.6%. Severe hypoglycemic episodes ceased 36 months ago, and occasional postprandial hyperglycemia during early school years was corrected with school nurses' reminders about premeal insulin bolus doses. Currently 9.5 years old, he independently manages all his insulin injections with parental assistance only to change the catheter site. Case 2 is a girl who was nearly 12 years of age when diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Initially managed with daily injections, hypoglycemic episodes were interfering with her physically active lifestyle. At age 13 years, she elected CSII therapy, and glycemic control improved. Temporarily erratic in the immediate period pre- and postmenarche, metabolic control has since stabilized. At 15 years old, she successfully manages her diabetes independently.


To optimize glycemic control, CSII can be initiated and used effectively, both in children of all ages and in adolescents with type 1 diabetes. CSII may be ideal therapy for toddlers, with no apparent lower age boundary for initiating CSII; however, the parenting challenges and requirements for supportive education differ between toddlers and adolescents. When disease and pump management are appropriately individualized, CSII therapy can help children with diabetes achieve and sustain glycemic control. Lifestyle flexibility, quality-of-life improvement, and independence can thus begin early in childhood and be maintained throughout young adulthood.

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