Managing Diabetes

The 72 hour continuous glucose sensor monitor

Why do we suggest you use the 72 hour continuous glucose sensor monitor?

We would advise using the monitor if hypo’s at night are suspected or if despite frequent monitoring you are not achieving optimum control.

The monitor enables blood glucose to be recorded every five minutes for 72 hours.

A cable to a tiny sensor, which is inserted under the skin and taped in place, links it. The data is then downloaded and charts are drawn by the programme.

Does it replace finger prick blood tests?

No- indeed you must be prepared to do at least 4 tests during each day and to enter the results into the monitor .One should be at night during the monitoring period and the others at very varied times, some before and some after meals.

How are the monitor and sensor fitted?

A Diabetes Specialist Nurse does this. You should wear a comfortable two-piece outfit as the usual place for the sensor is in the abdominal area. You need to bring with you your own blood testing equipment, as you have to do a test prior to leaving the hospital. The meter should be checked using quality control solution prior to your appointment.

How long does the fitting session take?

You need to allow about two hours for the appointment. The first will be spent explaining how you enter data into the monitor and how to respond if any alarm signals sound. The sensor is then fitted and you have to wait for a one-hour countdown, this is called the initialisation period. During this time you may wish to visit our coffee shop, so bring something with you to read or do. After the initialisation period you enter your first blood sugar and the sensor starts recording.

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

Three steps in fitting of glucose sensor device...

What do I need to do during the 72-hour monitoring period?

As mentioned above, you must be prepared to enter blood glucose readings as you do them. Each must be put in within 5 minutes of doing it. You also record insulin injection times, meal times, exercise and any hypo, s. We will give you a diary to keep a record of insulin doses and diet including how you treated any hypo’s. This diary will be used to compare with the computer printout.

Can I lead a normal life during the 72-hour monitoring period?

As far as possible you should try to do so. The monitor can be clipped to your clothing or put in your pocket during the day and at night placed under your pillow or clipped to the duvet or blankets. There is no reason to avoid moderate exercise but you cannot go swimming or take a bath with the monitor. You can shower by putting the monitor in a plastic shower pack, which will be provided.

What happens if the alarm sounds during monitoring?

This will be explained at the fitting session.

How is the sensor removed?

You can do this yourself or we will do this at the hospital but the monitor has to be returned so that other patients can benefit from it.

What happens then?

The monitor is downloaded and the results discussed with you by appointment, this can be on the day you return the monitor or at a mutually convenient time. You will be given a copy of the downloaded data.


Author: Dawn Southgate, Diabetes Specialist Nurse