Aim: To determine prevalence of hypoglycaemia, and contributing factors, in children with type 1 diabetes, using the Medtronic MiniMed continuous glucose monitoring system (CGMS).
Methods: Fifty-one children and adolescents with diabetes were studied with the CGMS. The studies were analysed for frequency and duration of hypoglycaemia (below 3.5 and 2.5 mmol/L). Contributing clinical factors were determined. Occurrence of nocturnal hypoglycaemia was related to bedtime and fasting home glucose recording.
Results: Hypoglycaemia was common, with 1 (0-4.2) (median (range)) episode per patient per 24 hours, and 0.33 (0-2) episodes per patient per night. Nocturnal episodes were longer than daytime episodes [97.5 (5-720) versus 35 (5-295) minutes for episodes below 3.5 mmol/L, P < 0.001; and 75 (10-640) versus 25 (5-200) minutes for episodes below 2.5 mmol/L, P < 0.001], and less likely to be recognised by the subject (P < 0.001 for episodes below both 3.5 and 2.5 mmol/L). Nocturnal hypoglycaemia was more common with a bedtime glucose recording <6 mmol/L, but also occurred frequently in subjects with glucose recordings >10 mmol/L. No bedtime glucose value reduced the risk of nocturnal hypoglycaemia to <10%.
Conclusion: Hypoglycaemia, assessed using the CGMS, is common in children with type 1 diabetes and can be prolonged (although is predominantly mild). Bedtime home glucose recordings are poorly predictive of hypoglycaemia during the following night. Continuous glucose monitoring has proven very useful in management of individual patients, particularly adolescents experiencing difficulties with adherence to diabetes management.