Modeling the glucose sensor error

Andrea Facchinetti, Simone Del Favero, Giovanni Sparacino, Jessica R. Castle, W. Kenneth Ward, Claudio Cobelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations


Continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) sensors are portable devices, employed in the treatment of diabetes, able to measure glucose concentration in the interstitium almost continuously for several days. However, CGM sensors are not as accurate as standard blood glucose (BG) meters. Studies comparing CGM versus BG demonstrated that CGM is affected by distortion due to diffusion processes and by time-varying systematic under/overestimations due to calibrations and sensor drifts. In addition, measurement noise is also present in CGM data. A reliable model of the different components of CGM inaccuracy with respect to BG (briefly, "sensor error") is important in several applications, e.g., design of optimal digital filters for denoising of CGM data, real-time glucose prediction, insulin dosing, and artificial pancreas control algorithms. The aim of this paper is to propose an approach to describe CGM sensor error by exploiting n multiple simultaneous CGM recordings. The model of sensor error description includes a model of blood-to-interstitial glucose diffusion process, a linear time-varying model to account for calibration and sensor drift-in-time, and an autoregressive model to describe the additive measurement noise. Model orders and parameters are identified from the n simultaneous CGM sensor recordings and BG references. While the model is applicable to any CGM sensor, here, it is used on a database of 36 datasets of type 1 diabetic adults in which n = 4 Dexcom SEVEN Plus CGM time series and frequent BG references were available simultaneously. Results demonstrates that multiple simultaneous sensor data and proper modeling allow dissecting the sensor error into its different components, distinguishing those related to physiology from those related to technology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6615958
Pages (from-to)620-629
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2014


  • Continuous glucose monitoring
  • diabetes
  • measurement noise
  • parameter estimation
  • sensor calibration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering


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