Spot ketone tests are used to detect if there are ketones in the blood, urine, or breath in greater than normal concentrations. Very high blood levels of ketones can lead to Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA). This is a serious complication of type 1 diabetes (T1D). Ketone testing has also been used in the field of nutrition to monitor the effectiveness of diets with very low carbohydrates. Further, this type of testing can be used in managing a few rare diseases for which ketogenic diets have been prescribed as a treatment. Ketogenic diets (or keto diet, for short) is a low carb, high fat diet often used in people with epilepsy.

Earlier in 2021, Sansum Diabetes Research Institute (SDRI) announced a major breakthrough in diabetes research: the first in-human results of a study of a continuous ketone monitor (CKM).

Continuous monitoring to prevent DKA in type 1 diabetes

Recently, researchers from SDRI participated in a Continuous Ketone Monitoring (CKM) Consensus Panel. This included 20 experts in diabetes technology. The purposes of the panel were to (1) provide insights to doctors, researchers, and insurance payers to better understand the performance of CKMs, and (2) facilitate the use of this tool to monitor ketone concentrations and prevent DKA in people with T1D.

Panelists discussed other potential uses of this new technology. For example, this testing can support people choosing very low carbohydrate diets. It can also be useful to treat other diseases, such as epilepsy.

Adding ketone monitoring to the diabetes toolbox

The experts concluded that:

  • In the future, wearable CKM sensors may become part of wearable multi-sensor systems capable of detecting impending DKA. This could prevent emergency room visits and hospitalizations for adults and children with T1D.
  • Future continuous ketone monitoring systems should integrate with continuous glucose monitoring systems and other automatically collected continuous wearable sensor data.
  • To be widely used, CKM systems will need to be accurate, safe, effective, affordable, and secure.


Photo by Shutterstock