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HALF-PINT Family Page

Welcome to the HALF-PINT Study Family page! We at HALF-PINT know you and your child can feel overwhelmed with all of the care and research that goes on around you and hope this page answers any questions you may have about the study your child participated in.

Currently, HALF-PINT has enrolled patients at over 30 centers in the United States and around the world. We plan to enroll 1,414 children and complete the study by the end of the summer of 2018. If you have any comments about the family page, or still have questions regarding the HALF-PINT study, please click the "Contact Us" button at the bottom of the page and we will reply to you as soon as possible. Thank you for your interest in our clinical trial!

Meet the HALF-PINT Teams

HALF-PINT Progress

HALF-PINT Participating Hospitals

Michael Agus, MD

Principal Investigator,
Clinical Coordinating Center

Vinay Nadkarni, MD

Principal Investigator,
Clinical Coordinating Center

David Wypij, PhD

Principal Investigator,
Data Coordinating Center

Garry Steil, PhD

Clinical Coordinating Center

Hyperglycemia, a condition of high blood sugar levels, is often seen in very sick children. Many doctors who treat patients in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) use insulin, a substance our body naturally produces, to lower these high blood sugar levels. The HALF-PINT trial is designed to help doctors learn what blood sugar range should be targeted in children to help them recover more quickly from their illness.

Blood sugar of patients in the ICU has been the object of intensive research over the past two decades but most of this research was done with adult patients. In pediatric trials, one clinical study showed children were more likely to survive and spent less time in the ICU when their high blood sugars were lowered with insulin; however, this treatment increased the chance for severe hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) 1. One of the HALF-PINT principal investigators, Dr. Michael Agus, conducted a study in the cardiac ICU to treat children with high blood sugar and demonstrated the lowest rate of severe hypoglycemia compared to all other previous randomized clinical trials 2. However, in the cardiac ICU, it appears that tight control of blood sugar is no better than existing methods of care.

Children in medical and non-cardiac surgical ICUs have very different kinds of illness than children in the Cardiac ICU. It is important for us to do the HALF-PINT study to find out if there are benefits of blood sugar control in these children. HALF-PINT enrolls children who need blood pressure medication because their blood pressure is low or are on a machine to help them breathe. These children have the highest risk of death and spend the most time in the ICU 3,4. Dr. Agus and Dr. Vinay Nadkarni designed the HALF-PINT study to see if treating hyperglycemia in these children improves their chances of survival and shortens their stay in the ICU. HALF-PINT uses a computer program (named “CHECKS”) developed by Dr. Garry Steil, an expert in the biology of insulin, to safely and effectively treat high blood sugar. Dr. David Wypij is a Principal Investigator who leads the biostatistical team for HALF-PINT and has a distinguished career in statistical and data coordination for multi-center studies like HALF-PINT.

CHECKS Screenshots

CHECKS (Children's Hospital Euglycemia for Kids Spreadsheet) is a Microsoft Excel-based application that recommends insulin doses in response to an ICU patient’s changes in blood sugar. CHECKS has been studied in over 1,000 ICU patients and uses methods developed by Dr. Garry Steil to recommend how much insulin your child should receive. The application is designed to maintain your child's blood sugar level within a targeted range. In HALF-PINT, this blood sugar range is randomly assigned at the beginning of the study: 80-110 mg/dL (4.4-6.1 mmol/L) or 150-180 mg/dL (8.3-10 mmol/L). Your child's blood sugar values are also charted on a graph for bedside staff to see.

CHECKS has many features, including giving bedside staff the option to override insulin dose recommendations, to pause the program, to enter blood sugar values earlier than expected, and to view a detailed history of every value entered into CHECKS. Recommendations can be overridden by bedside staff any time they feel the recommendation is not in the best interest of your child. If your child's symptoms are too severe to follow the HALF-PINT study safely, bedside staff can pause CHECKS; bedside staff may also pause CHECKS if your child leaves the ICU for a procedure or an operation.

Follow-up Survey

One goal of the HALF-PINT study is to identify differences between the health of your child before being admitted to the ICU and his or her health after participating in our study. Parents of children who were between 2 to 16 years of age the day they entered the HALF-PINT study were asked by our staff to fill out two questionnaires about the child's regular behaviors, development and quality of life before their admission.

If you received these questionnaires, shortly after your child leaves the hospital, you will receive a postcard explaining that you may be called by our study staff at Columbia University for a follow-up survey about your child's current health. Not everybody who participates in our study will be called. We randomly (like the flip of a coin) select families to call for the follow-up survey. If you receive a second postcard in the mail (see below), this means our study staff at Columbia University will be calling you within a few months regarding the follow-up survey.


An important part of our mission is to do our very best to explain our study to you, your child, and your family and to keep you informed of our progress. We think this is important before you begin the study, during the study, and even after your child has participated. For this reason we invited a group of parents whose children participated in the study to speak at our annual investigators meeting at the Pediatric Acute Lung Injury Sepsis Investigators (PALISI) conference. PALISI is an organization of clinical researchers across North America trying to find new ways to treat life-threatening symptoms that affect infants and children in the ICU. We learned a great deal from what these parents had to say, and one of the main reasons why this family page was developed is to address their suggestions.

Each parent who spoke at PALISI voiced a desire to see more information about the HALF-PINT trial while their child was enrolled as well as after they had left the ICU. We hope this page will be a valuable source of information for you, the parents of children who participate in our study. If you have any thoughts on additional information you would like to see or how we can improve our website, please click the "Contact Us" button to your left, enter your comments into the text box, and an email will be sent to us with your thoughts!

Dexcom G4 Sensor

  • Measures sugar levels in the fluid just underneath the skin, not in the blood vessels
  • The width of the sensor wire is approximately the same as 2 strands of human hair
  • Sites into which the sensor can be inserted: Abdomen, Shoulder and Thigh
  • Sensors are only inserted by trained personnel

Dexcom G4 Receiver

  • Receives data wirelessly from the sensor, up to a distance of 20 feet
  • Sugar levels are updated on the screen every 5 minutes
  • A trend arrow indicates for bedside staff how the sugar level is likely to change
  • An alarm will be triggered if the sugar level drops too low

For more information about the sensor and receiver we use in the HALF-PINT trial, please click here to visit

Contact Form

If there is anything you would like us to change or add to the family website, please send us your thoughts! Enter your name and email address below with any comments you have in the text box, then click submit. We will receive an email with your comments and you will receive a confirmation email indicating we have received your comments.

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