Background: Our objective was to evaluate the accuracy and safety of a real-time (RT) continuous glucose monitoring system (CGMS) in patients before and after cardiothoracic surgery and to investigate whether activation of the alarm function of the RT-CGMS had an effect on glucose control.
Methods: Patients scheduled for elective cardiothoracic procedures, without a history of insulin-requiring diabetes, were perioperatively monitored with RT-CGMS for 72 h and were randomized into two groups: with or without the alarm function (set at 4 and 10 mmol/L) of the device activated. Sensor values were compared with capillary, arterial, and venous blood glucose values. Percentages of time spent in various glucose ranges were compared between groups.
Results: There were no adverse effects of the RT-CGMS. Of the 1,001 sensor value comparisons with capillary or arterial measurements, 96.6% fell within Clarke Error Grid zones A and B, with relative absolute differences ranging from 15% (preoperative period) to 12% (intensive care unit period) to 14% (postoperative period on the ward). Seventeen (7.9%) arterial and 16 (2.0%) capillary comparisons fell within zone D or E. Whether or not the alarm function, as used in this pilot study, was activated did not affect time spent in different glucose ranges.
Conclusions: Although the RT-CGMS is safe and accurate according to accepted standards, there are still small aberrations, which in our opinion preclude unlimited use in its present form in a clinical setting. The effect of the alarm function at different glucose levels remains to be investigated.