CHICAGO – A wearable patch can detect hypoglycemia in patients with Type 1 diabetes, according to research presented recently at the Encocrine Society’s annual meeting.
Researchers at Radboud University Medical Center in the Netherlands studied the use of VitalConnect’s HealthPatch to determine if a continuous monitor could detect hypoglycemia, Hypoglycemia, which speeds the heart rate and alters heart rate variability, and alert patients earlier.
“Timely detection of impending hypoglycemia is critical to avoid severe, potentially life-threatening hypoglycemia,” said Dr. Marleen Olde Bekkink, one of the researchers, in a statement. “Our proof-of-principle study found that measuring heart rate variability using a wearable device in an outpatient setting seems promising for alerting to upcoming hypoglycemia.”
Study subjects wore the adhesive patch on their chest, as well as a continuous glucose meter, for five days at home. They recorded any low blood sugar level, verified by fingerstick measurement.
The patient’s heart rate data was transmitted wirelessly to an iPad or iPod, and researchers used an algorithm they developed to determine various parameters of heart rate variability. They conducted their primary analysis on 39 hypoglycemic events that occurred in 10 subjects and found that the algorithm detected clear patterns of change in heart rate variability at the start of hypoglycemia in 72% of the subjects.
Olde Bekkink said the team of researchers will now refine the algorithm to increase its accuracy and precision before being able to use the biosensor in daily practice for patients. Future developments will include creating a smartphone hypoglycemia alert.