medwireNews: Research shows that if people with diabetes recheck their glucose levels within 1 hour after receiving a low blood glucose alert from their flash glucose monitor it substantially reduces their risk for experiencing a long period of hypoglycemia.
Thomas Danne (Kinderkrankenhaus auf der Bult, Hannover, Germany) and team assessed de-identified data from 2.03 million low blood glucose (<70 mg/dL; 3.9 mmol/L) alerts given by 40,341 FreeStyle Libre (Abbott Diabetes Care, Alameda, California, USA) flash glucose monitoring systems.
In 2.9% of cases, the low glucose alert preceded a period of prolonged hypoglycemia, defined as blood glucose levels of less than 54 mg/dL (3.0 mmol/L) for at least 2 hours.
The flash glucose monitor users rechecked their blood glucose levels a median of 57 minutes (mean 91 minutes) after the low glucose alert.
Scanning to recheck glucose levels within 60 minutes after the original alert reduced the risk for prolonged hypoglycemia by a significant 56%, which is “the clinically relevant thing that we can tell our patients,” Danne told delegates at the 12th ATTD conference in Berlin, Germany.
The risk for prolonged hypoglycemia rose from 1.61% for people who rechecked around 15 minutes after the alert to 9.65% for those who did not scan again for over 6 hours.
“I think this real-world data gives us very practical advice, how to advise our patients when they have a low value, that they should ensure to scan a second time within the next hour,” said Danne.
Commenting from the audience, Gerry Rayman (Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust, UK) pointed out that 44% of people who rescanned within an hour after the alert still went on to have prolonged hypoglycemia, which he called “disappointing.”
Danne agreed, but nonetheless stressed the importance of relaying the message of his study findings to people with diabetes, suggesting that although they may respond appropriately to low glucose alerts, they may then “forget about the potential for a second, clinically meaningful hypoglycemia.”
He said that clinicians often tell patients that “hypoglycemia begets hypoglycemia” but advising them to scan again within the hour is a novel and simple message to help them avoid serious hypoglycemia.
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