Insulin Pump

Submitted by Thiruvelan on Wed, 06/23/2010
Insulin Pump
The insulin pump mimics pancreas and can help people achieve better control. Insulin pumps are computerized devices, about the size of a pager or call-beeper.

Insulin pump overview

Pumps are usually clipped to the waistband, and insulin is stored in the pump and travels to the body through a thin plastic tube called a catheter. On one end, the tube is hooked to the pump. With the help of a very small needle, the other end is pushed through the skin into fatty tissue and is taped in place.

Insulin pump mimic pancreas

An insulin pump is a small computerize insulin delivery device that mimics a working pancreas. It delivers a carefully measured continuous steady flow of rapid acting insulin throughout the day. You can program it to give more or less insulin as per your requirement (based on carbohydrate intake, and exercise performed). It delivers insulin under your skin through a cannula (for subcutaneous insertion under the skin) with small flexible tube. Insert the needle under the skin of your abdomen and tape it in place. You should wear this insulin pump all through the day on your belt or put it in your pocket.

It is important to check the blood-glucose level (by glucose monitor) several times a day to make sure the insulin pump and the catheter are working okay. Of course, a need to make adjustments for hypoglycemia (low blood-sugar) or hyperglycemia (high blood-sugar) happens accidentally.

If you are interested in an insulin pump, discuss with your health care team and see if they think it would work for you. Some people get the benefit of an insulin pump without an insulin pump. They do this by using both short acting and long-lasting insulin. You may want to ask your doctor about doing this if you decide against a pump.

Insulin pumps can cost from $6,000 to $8,000. Annual costs associated with insulin pump are insulin from $700 to $1200, other supplies from $ 1,500 to 2,200 and the total cost from $2,200 to 4,300. Leading insulin pump manufacturers are Animas, Smiths Medical Deltec, Disetronic, Medtronic MiniMed, Nipro Diabetes Systems, SOOIL, Accu-check, Dana, and Disetronic.

Why you need to use an insulin pump?

Clinical study shows an insulin pump helps better management of type 1 diabetes by minimizing the blood-glucose fluctuations. Insulin pump helps to achieve A1C of less than 7%, thus avoid or lower your risk for long-term diabetes complications such as nerve damage, eye damage, heart attack, kidney failure, coma, or limp amputation.

Insulin pump not only supports for better blood-glucose level and A1C. Additionally, it makes you or your loved once diabetic life easier. Your whole family feels a difference: no more planning around insulin injection, no more pain of skin piercing, and convenient diabetes management.

Who can use an insulin pump?

You can consider using an insulin pump, if you have; regular problem with hypo and hyperglycemia, difficulty maintaining blood-glucose control despite your best efforts, pregnant (or planning to get pregnant), a sport person, interested to maintain tight control, or frequent travelers.

Suitable age for the insulin pump: People of all ages can use an insulin pump. The youngest who receive an insulin pump was a baby boy of 12 days old. You and your diabetes team should decide the right age for insulin pump. However, for your kids, their parents manage the diabetes. It is not their age, which is important; you should be ready to learn, because there is plenty of kid pumper proved it working.  If you are a teenager, you should be ready to take responsibility for testing your blood glucose at least four times a day.

Is an insulin pump right for my child? Your health care team will be able to provide you with advice and information about insulin pump therapy.

For school going diabetes child with Insulin pump

When your child goes to school on a pump, it is important on your part to inform their teachers and the school nurse. You will additionally need to provide some pump supplier at their school, such as; extra supply of insulin, infusion set, numbing cream, alcohol wipes, insulin syringe or pen, batteries for the pump, and phone numbers of your diabetes team.

Insulin pump training

Training for the pump usually involves a one-hour training session with a diabetes educator, and a return visit several days later to set up the pump, set basal rates and administer a bolus, and learn when and how to change the infusion set.

One who going to use the pump, should achieve technical competence with the following tasks of the insulin pump therapy:

  • inserting the diabetes pump cannula
  • delivering a dose of insulin through the pump (bolus)
  • checking the diabetes pump memory (time of the last bolus dose)
  • troubleshooting (determine a problem with the diabetes pump)
  • Replacing batteries

Advantage of the insulin pump

All with type 1 diabetes requires insulin from an outside source. To live with diabetes, they must control their blood-glucose by balancing food, insulin, and exercise. You can take Insulin by traditional injection, insulin pen, or pump. The pump acts somewhat like (mimic) the pancreas by delivering insulin continuously. The insulin pump has several advantages over other forms of insulin delivery:

  • Precise infusion — Diabetes Pump delivers insulin as little as one-tenth of a unit – that can be closely matched to the needs.
  • Easy predictable — absorption of short-acting insulin, which is used in diabetes pump, is more predictable than that of long-acting insulin.
  • Continuous infusion —diabetes pump delivers basal insulin 24 hours a day and allows the user to change the amount infused on an hourly basis, if necessary.
  • Painless —diabetes pump holds a supply of insulin for several days, and it eliminates the need for scheduled injections since it delivers insulin continuously.
  • Individualized —you can program the diabetes pump to meet your personal needs, and it is easy to adjust and to keep blood-glucose levels in the target range during illness or physical activity.
  • Smart Intelligence — most diabetes pump calculates insulin doses needed based on carbohydrate intake, user’s personal insulin-to-carbohydrate ratio and insulin sensitivity factor, and insulin still active in the body from the previous dose.
  • Convenient control —diabetes pump can be lifesaving for children who have a history of widely fluctuating blood-glucose levels. People who use the pump are better able to keep their glucose level in the target range.
  • Freedom —diabetes pump gives children more freedom to vary when, what and how much they eat, through the continuous infusion of short-acting insulin and the ability to “cover” with additional doses as needed.

Disadvantages of Insulin pump

  • Uncomfortable - insulin pump warns most of the time, so the diabetes pump users need to be careful to avoid any damage to diabetes pump. Some users may find that wearing diabetes pump all the time (together with the infusion set tubing) is uneasy.
  • Unexpected incidents - an episode of diabetic ketoacidosis(Near complete deficiency of insulin and elevated levels of certain stress hormones combine to cause DKA.) may occur if a diabetes pump user does not receive sufficient fast acting insulin for many hours. This can happen if insulin pump battery is discharged, if the insulin reservoir runs empty, the tubing becomes loose or insulin leaks rather than being injected, or if the cannula becomes bent or kinked in the body, preventing delivery. Therefore, pump users typically monitor their blood sugars more frequently to evaluate the effectiveness of insulin delivery.
  • Infection - there is also a risk that the insertion site might become irritated or infected. Insulin pump user will have to change the insertion site every two or three days in order to avoid infection.
  • Costly - since insulin pumps can cost more, compare to other insulin delivery systems.