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An artificial pancreas, also known as a closed-loop insulin delivery system, is designed for individuals living with type 1 diabetes. The system is designed to emulate how a healthy pancreas controls blood glucose (blood sugar) in the body.

These systems work by automatically monitoring and adjusting blood glucose (sugar) levels, essentially mimicking the glucose-regulating function of a healthy pancreas. The device integrates a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) and an insulin pump with an algorithm to deliver insulin in response to real-time changes in blood glucose levels.

What does it involve?
The artificial pancreas system typically consists of three key components:

• Continuous glucose monitor: This device measures glucose levels in the interstitial fluid (fluid around the body’s cells) through a sensor inserted under the skin. It provides real-time glucose readings and trends, allowing the system to react to rising or falling glucose levels.
• Insulin pump: This is a small device worn outside the body, often on a belt or pocket. It delivers insulin through a tiny tube (cannula) that is placed under the skin.
• Control algorithm: This is the ’brain’ of the system. It receives glucose data from the CGM, calculates the amount of insulin needed, and instructs the insulin pump to deliver the correct insulin dose automatically.

The user needs to input some information into the system, like meal times and exercise, to aid the algorithm in making accurate insulin dosing decisions. The system is designed to continuously adapt to the individual’s insulin needs, which can vary daily.

Side effects
Side effects may include skin irritation and infections at the insertion site. There is also a risk of technical difficulties that could lead to inaccurate glucose readings and incorrect dosing. The latter could result in hypoglycemia (low glucose levels) or hyperglycemia (high glucose levels).

For more details about this treatment, visit:

Artificial Pancreas — Mount Sinai

Artificial Pancreas — National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

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