Teens staying in pediatric diabetes care until late adolescence may have a successful transition to adult care

Keeping adolescents with type 1 diabetes in pediatric diabetes care until at least age 17 may increase the chance that they will have a successful transition to adult care, according to a study presented Thursday at ENDO 2023, the Endocrine Society's annual meeting in Chicago, Ill.

The transition between pediatric diabetes care and adult diabetes care is known to be fraught with uncertainty. The risk of dropping out of care is high during this transition."

Joseph Leung, M.D., M.P.H., Lead Researcher, University of British Columbia, Canada

The study was designed to determine predictors of successful transition from pediatric to adult diabetes care. The researchers used a health database to identify 3,660 individuals who were diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in childhood and adolescence. They determined each patient's age at the last pediatric visit, and how much time had elapsed between the last pediatric diabetes visit and the first adult diabetes visit.

They calculated the odds of a "successful transition," which was defined as seeing an adult diabetes specialist within one year of seeing the pediatric diabetes specialist for the last time. They found teens with type 1 diabetes who remain in pediatric care until at least age 17 are more likely to transition successfully to adult care. Those who leave pediatric care prematurely are less likely to experience a successful transition, they found.

"Adolescents with type 1 diabetes are known to experience a substantial gap when transitioning from pediatric to adult care," Leung said. "They should be encouraged to stay in pediatric diabetes care until late adolescence before they are transitioned to an adult diabetes specialist."

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