Long-term improvement of metabolic control with the insulin pump does not reverse diabetic microangiopathy

W. V. Tamborlane, J. E. Puklin, M. Bergman, C. Verdonk, M. C. Rudolf, P. Felig, M. Genel, R. Sherwin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

97 Scopus citations


Restoration of near-normal glucose metabolism with the insulin pump reduces retinal fluorescein leakage and microalbuminuria in diabetes. However, it is not known whether these functional changes reflect a true reversal of diabetic retinopathy or nephropathy. To evaluate this question, we studied the effect of 1-2 yr of insulin pump treatment on clinical endpoints in 17 type I diabetic patients. In each patient, plasma glucose and total glycosylated hemoglobin levels fell to normal or near-normal levels. The total daily dose of insulin given during the first month of pump treatment (52 ± 5 U/day) was comparable to that given during conventional treatment (44 ± 3 U/day) and varied little over the 1-2 yr period of observation. Ten eyes without retinopathy at the start of the study remained without retinopathy after 15-23 mo of pump treatment. One of eleven eyes with background retinopathy developed proliferative retinopathy and 3 of 13 eyes with proliferative retinopathy progressed during pump treatment. Similarly, no improvement in renal function was observed in the six patients with diabetic nephropathy on entry to the study. In the first month of pump treatment, proteinuria consistently fell to values 30% below prepump levels (P < 0.005). However, the diminution in proteinuria was not sustained and all remain proteinuric after 13-18 mo of pump therapy. Serum creatinine rose slightly and creatinine clearance did not significantly change. These data suggest that insulin pump treatment does not reverse established diabetic microvascular complications, despite a sustained improvement in metabolic control for up to 2 yr. Whether such treatment prevents the development or delays the progression of diabetic retinopathy and nephropathy remains to be established.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-64
Number of pages7
JournalDiabetes Care
Issue numberSuppl. 1
StatePublished - 1982


Dive into the research topics of 'Long-term improvement of metabolic control with the insulin pump does not reverse diabetic microangiopathy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this