An insulin pump is a relatively new medical device, built on the latest technologies avaliable to persons who live with insulin dependent diabetes mellitus. The insulin pump is a small computerised device that delivers a slow continuous level of rapid acting insulin throughout the day. It can be programmed to give more or less insulin when and if required based on the persons blood glucose levels. The insulin is delivered through sub-cutaneous cannula and is usually changed at a minimum of once every three days.
An insulin pump requires:
1. The insulin pump itself (this includes all medication adjustment controls, processing unit, and batteries for power),
2. A disposable reservoir for insulin (inside the pump) use to store insulin until it is required, and
3. A disposable infusion set, including a cannula for subcutaneous insertion and a tubing system to interface the insulin reservoir to the cannula.
How Much Does an Insulin Pump Cost?
An insulin pump can cost between $2000 and $10,200 depending on the type of Insulin Pump and the country of purchase. It should be noted however, that most countries offer a subsidy for persons who medically require the pump due to unstable or difficult to manage insulin dependent diabetes. In Australia, these subsidies may be as much as $6200 if medically required.
Types of Insulin Pumps include: Animas Insulin Pump, Medtronic Veo Insulin Pump, Accu-Chek Spirit Insulin Pump, and the Dana Insulin Pump.
Pros and Cons of an Insulin Pump
The benefits of an Insulin Pump includes:
1. Better control and management of blood glucose levels, which in turn, reduces the likelihood of secondary diseases associated with diabetes, such as cardiovascular disease, peripheral vascular disease, and blindness.
2. Improved sexual health and lebido.
The weaknesses of an Insulin Pump includes:
1. The fact that you have to continuously wear a heavy and sometimes cumbersome Insulin Pump wherever you go and during whatever activity you choose to participate in, such as swimming or sport.
2. Insulin pump malfunctions are still possible.
Overall this new technology has been accepted well in the community of people who live with diabetes. As a paramedic, it is important to understand what an insulin pump is and how it works so that you are better able to treat diabetic patients who have an insulin pump insitu or regularly use an insulin pump.