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Pilot program at IU health aims to help COVID patients recover

Posted at 7:09 PM, Nov 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-13 19:17:32-05

INDIANAPOLIS — A new program at IU Health Methodist is underway helping Hoosiers infected by the coronavirus.

The program helps patients dealing with a dangerous side effect of COVID-19, high glucose levels.

Certain patients who are staying at the hospital are receiving continuous glucose monitors. These are typically used as an outpatient device for people who have diabetes and other blood sugar issues.

"It's placed on a patient's body, it has a catheter, and it sends up the glucose all the time and has a remote reader," said Dr. Swapnil Khare, an Endocrinologist at IU Methodist.

Dr. Khare says they've learned that COVID-19 patients have higher levels of blood sugar which can be very dangerous when fighting the virus.

"With COVID-19, we are seeing it more and more. If the blood sugars are higher than the recovery is slower, people need more support with a breathing machine and the outcomes may be poor," said Dr. Khare.

To monitor insulin levels, nurses usually have to prick a patient's finger three or four a day, wear fresh PPE with every visit, and expose themselves to the sick patient each time. These monitors eliminate some of these issues while keeping patients healthier. The device provides insulin to the patient as needed and keeps nurses informed on the blood glucose levels without healthcare workers needing to enter the room.

"So, the nursing exposure is less, and we are conserving more personal protective equipment which is also a big deal with this pandemic," said Dr. Khare.

The goal is for this to become part of the protocol with COVID-19 patients to help with their recovery and survival of the virus.