Continuous glucose monitoring versus blood glucose monitoring for risk of severe hypoglycaemia and diabetic ketoacidosis in children, adolescents, and young adults with type 1 diabetes: a population-based study





The effect of continuous glucose monitoring on the risk of severe hypoglycaemia and ketoacidosis in patients with diabetes is unclear. We investigated whether rates of acute diabetes complications are lower with continuous glucose monitoring, compared with blood glucose monitoring, and which metrics predict its risk in young patients with type 1 diabetes.


In this population-based cohort study, patients were identified from 511 diabetes centres across Austria, Germany, Luxembourg, and Switzerland participating in the Diabetes Prospective Follow-up initiative.

We included people with type 1 diabetes aged 1·5–25·0 years, with a diabetes duration of more than 1 year, who had been treated between Jan 1, 2014, and June 30, 2021, and had an observation time of longer than 120 days in the most recent treatment year.

Severe hypoglycaemia and ketoacidosis rates during the most recent treatment year were examined in people using continuous glucose monitoring and in those using blood glucose monitoring. Adjustments of statistical models included age, sex, diabetes duration, migration background, insulin therapy (pump or injections), and treatment period.

Rates of severe hypoglycaemia and diabetic ketoacidosis were evaluated by several continuous glucose monitoring metrics, including percentage of time below target glucose range (<3·9 mmol/L), glycaemic variability (measured as the coefficient of variation), and mean sensor glucose.


Of 32 117 people with type 1 diabetes (median age 16·8 years [IQR 13·3–18·1], 17 056 [53·1%] males), 10 883 used continuous glucose monitoring (median 289 days per year), and 21 234 used blood glucose monitoring.

People using continuous glucose monitoring

• had lower rates of severe hypoglycaemia than those using blood glucose monitoring (6·74 [95% CI 5·90–7·69] per 100 patient-years vs8·84 [8·09–9·66] per 100 patient-years; incidence rate ratio 0·76 [95% CI 0·64–0·91]; p=0·0017) and

• diabetic ketoacidosis (3·72 [3·32–4·18] per 100 patient-years  7·29 [6·83–7·78] per 100 patient-years; 0·51 [0·44–0·59]; p<0·0001).

• Severe hypoglycaemia rates increased with percentage of time below target glucose range (incidence rate ratio 1·69 [95% CI 1·18–2·43]; p=0·0024, for 4·0–7·9% <4·0% and 2·38 [1·51–3·76]; p<0·0001, for ≥8·0%  <4·0%) and glycaemic variability (coefficient of variation ≥36%  <36%; incidence rate ratio 1·52 [95% CI 1·06–2·17]; p=0·022).

• Diabetic ketoacidosis rates increased with mean sensor glucose (incidence rate ratio 1·77 [95% CI 0·89–3·51], p=0·13, for 8·3–9·9 mmol/L  <8·3 mmol/L; 3·56 [1·83–6·93], p<0·0001, for 10·0–11·6 mmol/L <8·3 mmol/L; and 8·66 [4·48–16·75], p<0·0001, for ≥11·7 mmol/L  <8·3 mmol/L).


These findings provide evidence that continuous glucose monitoring can reduce severe hypoglycaemia and ketoacidosis risk in young people with type 1 diabetes on insulin therapy. Continuous glucose monitoring metrics might help to identify those at risk for acute diabetes complications.


German Center for Diabetes Research, German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, German Diabetes Association, and Robert Koch Institute.


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