Background: This study was designed to test the feasibility and efficacy of continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion (CSII) being instituted within 1 month of diagnosis of type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM).
Methods: Twenty-eight consecutive patients with newly diagnosed T1DM with a mean age of 12.1 +/- 6.2 years were placed on CSII, as early as within 1 day of their diagnosis. All accepted CSII when offered it, and none elected to discontinue CSII after follow-up periods of up to 3 years.
Results: Hemoglobin A1c levels declined from an initial mean of 10.5 +/- 2.4% to between 6.5% and 7.4% over the next 18 months, at a mean insulin requirement of 0.33 units/kg/day at 3 months, which gradually rose to 0.58 units/kg/day by 18 months. Endogenous insulin secretion, measured by C-peptide values, remained stable during the first 12 months after diagnosis. There was no significant weight gain for the duration of the study (20.7 kg/m(2) vs. a peak of 22.1 kg/m(2) at 12 months, P = 0.54).
Conclusions: The study provided a positive experience with CSII as the initial insulin replacement therapy in newly diagnosed patients with T1DM with excellent clinical outcomes and apparent prolongations of the honeymoon period. It remains to be proven by random patient assignment whether endogenous insulin secretion is better preserved with CSII as an initial ongoing treatment modality and whether long-term complications are reduced by this approach.