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April 9, 1982

Diabetics' deaths: insulin pump connection?

JAMA. 1982;247(14):1918-1919. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03320390010004

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The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta is investigating the deaths of 11 diabetic patients who were using continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion (CSII) pumps when they died.

The open-loop pumps, which are used in conjunction with external home blood glucose monitors, are about the size of large paging units and inject insulin into the abdomen at a constant low rate with larger boluses injected before meals. The CDC estimates that about 4,000 pumps currently are in use in the United States, where they have been commercially available for about a year.

"We're now trying to determine whether what we have here is the tip of the iceberg or the whole iceberg," says Steven Teutsch, MD, chief of operational research, Diabetes Control Activity, Center for Prevention Services at the CDC. Teutsch is preparing a short questionnaire to be sent to diabetologists, endocrinologists, and other physicians involved in pump therapy to