Aims: To explore the psychosocial experiences of closed-loop technology and to compare ratings of closed- and open-loop technology for adults with Type 1 diabetes taking part in a randomized crossover study.
Methods: Adults (aged > 18 years) on insulin pump therapy were recruited to receive a first phase of either real-time continuous glucose monitoring with overnight closed-loop or real-time continuous glucose monitoring alone (open-loop) followed by a second phase of the alternative treatment in random order, at home for 4 weeks, unsupervised. Participants were invited to share their views in semi-structured interviews. The impact of the closed-loop technology, positive and negative aspects of living with the device overnight, along with the hopes and anxieties of the participants, were explored.
Results: The participants in the trial were 24 adults with a mean (sd) age of 43 (12) years, of whom 54% were men. The mean (range) interview duration was 26 (12-46) min. Content and thematic analysis showed the following key positive themes: improved blood glucose control (n = 16); reassurance/reduced worry (n = 16); improved overnight control leading to improved daily functioning and diabetes control (n = 16); and improved sleep (n = 8). The key negative themes were: technical difficulties (n = 24); intrusiveness of alarms (n = 13); and size of equipment (n = 7). Of the 24 participant, 20 would recommend the closed-loop technology.
Conclusions: Closed-loop therapy has positive effects when it works in freeing participants from the demands of self-management. The downside was technical difficulties, particularly concerning the pump and 'connectivity', which it is hoped will improve. Future research should continue to explore the acceptability of the closed-loop system as a realistic therapy option, taking account of user concerns as new systems are designed. Failure to do this may reduce the eventual utility of new systems.
© 2015 The Authors. Diabetic Medicine © 2015 Diabetes UK.