Three type I diabetic patients nonresponsive to subcutaneous insulin were implanted with a subcutaneous peritoneal access device. In these patients, multiple subcutaneous injections had been unable to prevent recurrent hospital admissions for diabetic ketoacidosis. The patients were responsive to intravenous insulin but had limited accessible peripheral veins. Complications of thrombosis and/or septicemia from permanent central venous catheters prevented the long-term use of this route.
The peritoneal access device was implanted subcutaneously adjacent to the umbilicus with its insulin delivery catheter terminating in the peritoneal space. Transcutaneous injection of insulin into the subcutaneous access port resulted in the same quantity of insulin entering the peritoneal space. Using a mixture of regular and protamine zinc insulin in a ration of 1:1 resulted in acute increases in plasma free insulin concentration with meals and a declining background level postprandially. All peritoneal access devices have been functioning well for at least 2 mo and in one of the implanted diabetic subjects, it has been in continuous use for 5 mo with no evidence of peritonitis or resistance to peritoneal insulin. These results suggest that a subcutaneous peritoneal access device may provide an alterative insulin delivery route for patients who are nonresponsive to subcutaneous insulin injections.