Queensland first in Type 1 Diabetes management

Mr Joseph ‘Joe’ Marchisella

Joseph ‘Joe’ Marchisella has been living with Type 1 Diabetes for 35 years and today became the first person in Queensland to be fitted with what is essentially an artificial pancreas.

Mr Marchisella, who works as a diabetes nurse educator with West Moreton Health in Ipswich, will immediately start using the breakthrough technology that intuitively self-adjusts to deliver precise amounts of insulin when he needs it, allowing him to better manage the chronic disease.

As the only technology of its type approved in Australia, the Closed Loop Hybrid Insulin Pump system is known as Medtronic MiniMed® 670G. It uses Continuous Glucose Monitoring and algorithm technology to monitor Mr Marchisella’s insulin needs by measuring his glucose level every five minutes and automatically correct high and low glucose levels.

Mr Marchisella said this technology would change his life, allowing greater freedom and reducing the need to manually monitor his blood glucose throughout the day to stay healthy.

“This is a game changer for me,” Mr Marchisella said.

“This takes a lot of the stress and burden out of managing the condition.”

A nurse for 10 years and a diabetes educator for more than two years, Mr Marchisella decided to take on an education role to help people better understand the disease and how to live with it.

“I understand what it is like to live with Type 1 Diabetes,” Mr Marchisella said.

“I can relate and I can talk to people in the West Moreton Health diabetes clinic here in Ipswich person-to-person as well as clinician to patient.”

Mr Marchisella will not only receive the new technology to manage his own condition but he is now one of two West Moreton Health diabetes educators trained in the new technology to benefit local community members with diabetes.

West Moreton Health Endocrinologist Dr Thomas Dover said West Moreton Health was the first health service in Queensland with access and training to support the technology.

“It is estimated there are around 120,000 Australians living with Type 1 Diabetes so this is an incredible opportunity for the West Moreton community to have access to breakthrough technology so close to home with qualified educators – one of who has a lived Type 1 diabetes experience,” Dr Dover said.

“There is no cure for Type 1 Diabetes so the goal of diabetes management is to keep blood glucose levels as close to normal as possible, which can be hard to achieve, and to minimise the risk of developing short and long-term complications.

“This technology gives people the freedom to live their lives without constantly having to monitor their condition – it essentially serves the role their pancreas is supposed to do.”

Mr Marchisella said the glucose sensor and insulin pump technology was easy to wear and almost unnoticeable.

“The pump is smaller than a mobile phone and the sensor is roughly the size of a 20-cent piece that adheres to your skin – you’d never know I was wearing technology that is helping to manage my Type 1 Diabetes,” Mr Marchisella said.

“I still have to calibrate the sensor occasionally and refill the insulin pump but I can be confident that day and night my blood glucose levels are being monitored and I can get on with life.”

For more information about the new system or for information about diabetes management contact West Moreton Health’s Ipswich Diabetes Service on 3813 6150.