Background/objectives: In the current era of modern technology and the development of smart devices such as the flash glucose monitoring (FGM) systems, patients can easily monitor their glucose levels more frequently without any inconvenience. In this study, we evaluate the effect of FreeStyle Libre FGM system on glycemic control, hypoglycemia, health-related quality of life (QoL), and the fear of hypoglycemia (FOH) among children and young people with type 1 diabetes (T1D).
Design and methods: A prospective study was conducted at the Diabetes Treatment Center, Prince Sultan Military Medical City, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, between January 2017 and May 2017 on 47 (aged 13-19 years) registered patients with T1D who used conventional finger-pricking method for self-testing the glucose. At baseline visit, the FGM sensors were placed on each participant by a trained diabetes educator. The data collected from the sensors were computed to generate the respective ambulatory glucose profiles so as to determine the total number of scans conducted during the study period. At the baseline and at 3 months of the experiment, a trained interviewer administered the questionnaire Hypoglycemia Fear Survey-Child Version (HFS-C) and PedsQL 3.0 (QoL questionnaire) to each patient. The age, sex, weight, height, adjusted body mass index, duration of diabetes, treatment modality, and glycosylated hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) levels of each patient were recorded.
Results: As compared with the baseline, a significant improvement was noted in the behavior of FOH (P = .0001), worry (P = .0001), QoL (P = .002), HbA1c level (P = .008), and hypoglycemia (P = .023) at 3 months. Significant improvement was noted in the behavior (P = .0001), worry (P = .0001), QoL (P = .003), HbA1c level (P = .014), and hypoglycemia (P = .001) among the multiple-dose insulin injection-treated patients as compared with baseline. Significant improvement was noted in the behavior (P = .0001), worry (P = .0001), and hypoglycemia (P = .001) among the insulin pump-treated patients as compared with baseline. A positive correlation was recorded in the behavior (r = .47; P < .001), QoL (r = .70; P < .001), and the mean number of FGM scans. A negative correlation was recorded in the worry (r = -.43; P = .002), HbA1c level (r = -.58; P < .001), hypoglycemia (r = -.65; P < .001), and the mean number of FGM scans.
Conclusions: The frequent use of FGM scanning reduced the frequency of hypoglycemia, HbA1c level, and worry and increased the behavior and QoL. As compared with self-testing by the conventional finger-pricking method, the use of FGM increased the frequency of self-testing and thus diabetes control.
Keywords: FreeStyle Libre; fear of hypoglycemia; glucose monitoring; glycemic control; hypoglycemia; type 1 diabetes.