Sydney, Jan 22: A four-year-old Australian boy has become the first patient in the world to be fitted with an artificial pancreas.
Xavier Hames has type 1 diabetes and is at constant risk of hypoglycaemia -- when low glucose levels can result in seizures, coma or death. But Hames was fitted with a pancreas-like pump that can identify when sugar levels are low and stop the release of insulin, Xinhua reported.
Professor Tim Jones from Perth's Princess Margaret Hospital said on Thursday that the device would make life a lot easier for the parents of children with type 1 diabetes, especially at night time when the risk of hypoglycaemia is higher.
"Most parents have to get up two or three times a night to check glucose levels and this might make them feel a little safer at night time if they know they've got this automated system that's going to prevent low glucose," he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).
Jones said adults can also benefit from this new technology.
"It's just as important in adults if they're living alone or at risk of having problems with their glucose levels. It'll work in any age group," he said.
The artificial pancreas-pump device was fitted to Hames in January 2014, and his mother said the instrument has already improved the quality of his life.
"It allows him to have more freedom with eating," she said. "He 's only four, you can't stop a child wanting a bowl full of pasta. At a party you can't stop a child wanting party food, so the pump allows a lot more freedom."
After five years of clinical trials by specialists at Perth's Princess Margaret Hospital and hospitals around Australia, the device is now commercially available at a cost of 10,000 Australian dollars (about $8,000).
However, Jones said the pump will become cheaper and more accessible as the technology developed.