Objectives: Hypoglycemia is frequent in very low birth weight (VLBW) neonates and compromises their neurological outcome. The aim of this study was to compare real-time continuous glucose monitoring system (RT-CGMS) to standard methods by intermittent capillary blood glucose testing in detecting and managing hypoglycemia.
Study design: Forty-eight VLBW neonates were enrolled in this prospective study. During their 3 first days of life, their glucose level was monitored either by RT-CGMS (CGM-group), or by intermittent capillary glucose testing (IGM-group) associated with a blind-CGMS to detect retrospectively missed hypoglycemia. Outcomes were the number and duration of hypoglycemic (≤ 50 mg/dl) episodes per patient detected by CGMS.
Results: Forty-three monitorings were analyzed (IGM n = 21, CGM n = 22), with a median recording time of 72 hours. In the IGM group, blind-CGMS revealed a significantly higher number of hypoglycemia episodes than capillary blood glucose testing (1.2 ± 0.4 vs 0.4 ± 0.2 episode/patient, p<0.01). In the CGM-group, the use of RT-CGMS made it possible (i) to detect the same number of hypoglycemia episodes as blind-CGMS (1.2 ± 0.4 episode/patient), (ii) to adapt the glucose supply in neonates with hypoglycemia (increased supply during days 1 and 2), and (iii) to significantly reduce the duration of hypoglycemia episodes per patient (CGM 44[10-140] min versus IGM 95[15-520] min, p<0.05). Furthermore, it reduced the number of blood samples (CGM 16.9 ± 1.0 vs IGM 21.9 ± 1.0 blood sample/patient, p<0.001).
Conclusion: RT-CGMS played a beneficial role in managing hypoglycemia in VLBW neonates by adjusting the carbohydrate supply to the individual needs and by reducing the duration of hypoglycemia episodes. The clinical significance of the biological differences observed in our study need to be explored.