In Silico Assessment of Literature Insulin Bolus Calculation Methods Accounting for Glucose Rate of Change

J Diabetes Sci Technol. 2019 Jan;13(1):103-110. doi: 10.1177/1932296818777524. Epub 2018 May 31.


Background: The standard formula (SF) used in bolus calculators (BCs) determines meal insulin bolus using "static" measurement of blood glucose concentration (BG) obtained by self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG) fingerprick device. Some methods have been proposed to improve efficacy of SF using "dynamic" information provided by continuous glucose monitoring (CGM), and, in particular, glucose rate of change (ROC). This article compares, in silico and in an ideal framework limiting the exposition to possibly confounding factors (such as CGM noise), the performance of three popular techniques devised for such a scope, that is, the methods of Buckingham et al (BU), Scheiner (SC), and Pettus and Edelman (PE).

Method: Using the UVa/Padova Type 1 diabetes simulator we generated data of 100 virtual subjects in noise-free, single-meal scenarios having different preprandial BG and ROC values. Meal insulin bolus was computed using SF, BU, SC, and PE. Performance was assessed with the blood glucose risk index (BGRI) on the 9 hours after meal.

Results: On average, BU, SC, and PE improve BGRI compared to SF. When BG is rapidly decreasing, PE obtains the best performance. In the other ROC scenarios, none of the considered methods prevails in all the preprandial BG conditions tested.

Conclusion: Our study showed that, at least in the considered ideal framework, none of the methods to correct SF according to ROC is globally better than the others. Critical analysis of the results also suggests that further investigations are needed to develop more effective formulas to account for ROC information in BCs.

Keywords: bolus calculator; carbohydrate-to-insulin ratio; nonadjunctive use; rate of change; type 1 diabetes.

MeSH terms

  • Blood Glucose / analysis*
  • Blood Glucose Self-Monitoring / methods*
  • Chemistry, Pharmaceutical / methods*
  • Computer Simulation
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / blood*
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / pharmacology
  • Insulin / administration & dosage*
  • Insulin / pharmacology*
  • Insulin Infusion Systems
  • Postprandial Period


  • Blood Glucose
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Insulin