Medical device maker Medtronic Inc. said Thursday that U.S. regulators had approved a system for diabetics that continually monitors blood-sugar levels and recommends insulin doses to control them.
The device, approved by the Food and Drug Administration, relays blood-glucose readings every five minutes from a sensor inserted under the skin to a pager-size pump, the Minneapolis-based company said. The pump displays current blood-sugar levels and shows on a chart the trend over the last three and 24 hours to help patients precisely adjust their insulin levels.
The system does not eliminate the need for insulin shots, but it takes Medtronic a step closer to developing a device to replace the pancreas, which produces insulin to convert blood sugar to energy, analysts said.
The company is working to persuade insurers to cover the $7,000 monitoring system, which would provide far more information than patients get from testing blood taken from their fingers three times daily.