Patients with type 1 diabetes who use insulin pump therapy face almost 50% less risk of dying from cardiovascular disease than those who take insulin by injections, according to Swedish researchers.
The researchers monitored 18,168 Swedes with type 1 diabetes from 2005 to 2012. While 2,441 of the subjects used insulin pump therapy, the others relied on multiple daily injections.
“There is a rationale for insulin pump treatment resulting in more stable blood glucose concentrations than multiple daily injections”
The observational study, published in the British Medical Journal, found that insulin pump users had a substantially lower risk of dying of CVD than the daily injection group.
Study author Dr Isabelle Steineck, from the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, said the next step would be to identify the mechanisms that explained the extra benefits of insulin pump therapy.
She suggested one reason for the difference between the two therapies might be that the insulin pump method was accompanied by more extensive patient training and more frequent blood glucose monitoring.
“There is a rationale for insulin pump treatment resulting in more stable blood glucose concentrations than multiple daily injections,” she said.
“Previous studies have shown that insulin pump can reduce the frequencies of severe hypoglycemic episodes. Severe hypoglycaemia can be a risk factor for cardiovascular events, particularly among high risk individuals,” she added.
“We evaluated the patients who used insulin pump therapy and do not know if the observed effect is attributable to continuous infusion of insulin or that some of the effect is attributable to intensified glucose monitoring, increased motivation to control blood glucose, or a better knowledge about having diabetes type 1” said Dr Steineck.