Improvement in glycemic excursions with a transcutaneous, real-time continuous glucose sensor: a randomized controlled trial

Diabetes Care. 2006 Jan;29(1):44-50. doi: 10.2337/diacare.29.01.06.dc05-1686.


Objective: Hypoglycemia and wide glucose excursions continue to be major obstacles to achieving target HbA(1c) values and the associated reductions in long-term complications (and economic costs) in people with insulin-treated diabetes. In this study we evaluated the accuracy, safety, and clinical effectiveness of a continuous glucose-sensing device.

Research design and methods: A total of 91 insulin-requiring patients with type 1 (n = 75) and type 2 (n = 16) diabetes were enrolled in this multicenter randomized study. Subjects wore a transcutaneous, 3-day, continuous glucose-sensing system for three consecutive 72-h periods. Subjects were randomly assigned (1:1 ratio) to either a control group (continuous glucose data not provided) or a display group (continuous glucose data not provided during period 1 but displayed during periods 2 and 3). During periods 2 and 3, patients in the display group had real-time access to sensor glucose values, could review glucose trends over the preceding 1, 3, and 9 h, and were provided with high (> or = 200 mg/dl) and low (< or = 80 mg/dl) alerts and a low (< or = 55 mg/dl) alarm. Sensors were inserted by patients, and both groups used (or wore) the system during daily activities. Device accuracy was assessed by comparing continuous glucose values to paired self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG) meter readings. Clinical effectiveness was evaluated by analyzing between-group (control vs. display, periods 2 and 3) and within-group (display, period 1 vs. period 3) differences in time spent in high, low, and target (81-140 mg/dl) glucose zones.

Results: When prospective, real-time sensor values were compared with SMBG values, 95.4% of 6,767 paired glucose values fell within Clarke error grid A and B zones. Pearson's correlation coefficient was 0.88, and mean and median absolute relative differences were 21.2 and 15.9%, respectively. No systematic bias was detected at any of the prespecified glucose levels (50, 80, 100, 150, and 200 mg/dl). When compared with control subjects, the display group spent 21% less time as hypoglycemic (<55 mg/dl), 23% less time as hyperglycemic (> or = 240 mg/dl), and 26% more time in the target (81-140 mg/dl) glucose range (P < 0.001 for each comparison). Nocturnal (10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.) hypoglycemia, as assessed at two thresholds, was also reduced by 38% (<55 mg/dl; P < 0.001) and 33% (55-80 mg/dl; P < 0.001) in the display group compared with control subjects.

Conclusions: We conclude that real-time continuous glucose monitoring for periods up to 72 h is accurate and safe in insulin-requiring subjects with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. This study demonstrates that availability of real-time, continuously measured glucose levels can significantly improve glycemic excursions by reducing exposure to hyperglycemia without increasing the risk of hypoglycemia, which may reduce long-term diabetes complications and their associated economic costs.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose / analysis*
  • Blood Glucose Self-Monitoring*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / blood*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Monitoring, Ambulatory / methods*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Time Factors


  • Blood Glucose