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At UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, we believe parents and guardians can contribute to the success of using this device and invite you to participate. Please read the following information to learn about the device and how you can help.
The continuous glucose sensor is a small monitor that measures and stores information about a child’s blood sugar levels over a period of time, up to 1 week. It gives real-time information about the child’s blood glucose levels, including trends and fluctuations that signal when blood sugar levels will become hyperglycemic (HI-per-gly-seem-ick) or too high, or hypoglycemic (HI-po-gly-seem-ick) or too low.
The sensor is injected under the surface of the skin with a needle using an insertion applicator. The needle then is removed and the sensor stays in place. When the sensor is inserted, your child will feel a fast, sharp prick. A small recorder that looks like a flat, plastic disk a little larger than a quarter is attached to the sensor and worn with it for the length of the test period. The recorder lies flat against the skin and can be worn under clothing without being seen. Your child can return to normal activities right away, and can swim, bath, shower, and exercise while wearing it.
Your child should continue to take blood sugar readings as usual and record daily events, such as meals, insulin, and exercise in the log book. While the continuous glucose sensor is in place, it will automatically measure and record your child’s glucose measurements.
When the testing period is over, you may remove the sensor by pulling it out and taking off the recording disk. The recording disk and the log book must be mailed back to the clinic in the padded envelope that was provided to you. The sensor and needle can be thrown away in an approved sharps container.
When the recorder is received at the hospital, the data will be downloaded into a computer and your log book will be matched with the information to create a personalized report. At your child’s next clinic appointment, you and your child will be able to see on a graph what his or her glucose levels were in relationship to time of day, activity, and meals. The report will help your child answer questions, such as:
This information will help you and your child have more control over his or her glucose levels and lower A1C levels. Lower A1C levels have been shown to reduce the risk of complications such as eye, kidney, nerve, and heart disease, and can lead to a longer, healthier life.
No special preparation is needed before the continuous glucose sensor is placed. You or your child should keep the area around the sensor clean and free from powders and creams while it is being worn.
The nurse will talk to you and your child about options for where the sensor should be placed. Once a site has been chosen, the nurse will clean the area with an alcohol swab.
The sensor will be placed in the insertion applicator, which will push the sensor under the skin with a quick snap. After a few minutes to allow the sensor to set up, the recorder will be placed on the sensor. Your child may return to normal activities after the sensor is placed.
The most important role of a parent or guardian when first placing the continuous glucose sensor is to help your child stay calm and relaxed. The best way to help your child stay calm is for you to stay calm.
Most types of medical insurance will cover the full cost of the placement and data interpretation needed for continuous glucose sensor testing. In some cases, there may be a co-pay charge. Medical insurance will not cover the replacement charge for lost or damaged recording devices.
If you have any questions, or if your child has any special needs you feel the endocrinology department needs to know about, please call the diabetic educator at Children’s Hospital before your child’s clinic appointment.
Children's Hospital's main campus is located in the Lawrenceville neighborhood. Our main hospital address is:
UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh
One Children’s Hospital Way
4401 Penn Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15224
In addition to the main hospital, Children's has many convenient locations in other neighborhoods throughout the greater Pittsburgh region.
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Interested in giving to Children's Hospital? Support the hospital by making a donation online, joining our Heroes in Healing monthly donor program, or visiting our site to learn about the other ways you can give back.