The Ottumwa Courier

March 28, 2014

MHP employees train on artificial pancreas system


Ottumwa Courier

---- — OSKALOOSA — According to Centers for Disease Control, diabetes is a disease that affects more than 25 million Americans. There are a variety of treatment options, and Mahaska Health Partnership recently began working with patients using an artificial pancreas system.

The artificial pancreas system automates the insulin delivery system for people with diabetes. It monitors insulin levels and automatically stops delivery when sensor glucose values reach a set value. The improvements on the accuracy of the sensors help patients with diabetes better control their condition.

“This new system can help people get better control of their diabetes and eliminate multiple injections on a daily basis,” MHP Certified Diabetes Educator Sharon Ferguson explained. “These systems are small and portable and allow for more reliable, accurate readings.”

The new sensors are 69 percent smaller than previous versions, which make them more discreet and manageable. “I’m very excited to see the new technological advances in diabetes treatment,” Ferguson said. “I know what my patients go through on a daily basis for treatment, so the automation the artificial pancreas provides can make their diabetes much more manageable.”

Ferguson explained that the suspension feature of the artificial pancreas stops the delivery of insulin if glucose levels reach a certain point pre-set by a health care provider. Once the threshold is reached, an alarm will go off for the user. If the user is asleep or otherwise unable to react, the system will delay the delivery of glucose for two hours. If insulin needs delivered before then, it can be resumed at any time.

Dr. Jeffrey Fowler, OB/GYN specialist at MHP, has also utilized the new device for patients during pregnancy. “The artificial pancreas along with collaboration between myself and Sharon allows us to care for higher-risk diabetic patients right here at MHP, close to where they live and work.”

If you are a diabetic patient and would like to discuss treatment options, including the artificial pancreas, call Ferguson at 641-672-3422.