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Insulin Pumps...

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This does not replace any medical advice. The following is for your information only. Please feel free to share with your diabetes team but it does not make any changes in your diabetes management without first consulting your diabetes team

An insulin pump is not a cure but another method of insulin delivery. It is a small pager-like device that mechanically pumps set amounts of fast-acting insulin into the patient's body. This is not yet a closed loop system. It is a system that requires the setting of "basal rates" and the calculation of various insulin to food ratios to be used in the run of a day.

Unlike Multiple Daily Injection therapy (MDI), pump therapy does not use a long-lasting insulin but small amounts of fast-acting insulin are delivered throughout the day. For some this leads to feelings of unease as the threat of DKA (Diabetic Ketoacidosis) looms greater. For others it simply leads to feelings of freedom as they no longer are forced to follow the clock. The peaks of long-lasting NPH insulins may have been a problem, or the single basal rate offered by insulin glargine may not match their body's needs.

An insulin pump lets you set a variety of "basal rates" to meet the naturally occurring needs of your body. It further allows you to match insulin to carbohydrate intake rather than having to "feed" your insulin. You now chose to eat, snack or graze.

Pumping insulin is not for everyone. It is another method of insulin delivery. Some do not like the idea of being attached to a mechanical device 24/7 but the freedom, flexibility and tight control often outweighs any of the negative concerns.

An insulin pump currently costs approximately $7000CAD and require monthly pump supplies whose costs can run upwards of $1200 per year. These costs are often, but not always covered by private insurance plans.  In Canada, more and more provinces are also beginning to realize the long term benefits of covering insulin pumps and supplies under their provincial health care policies. 

What does it  all look like?

pump description All together!

What insulin pumps are available?

Below is a chart of the current, most popular insulin pumps available.  All of these pumps are available in the US and Canada.

Pump accucheck

animas vibe

Tslim MiniLink_Pump_Callouts.JPG
pink paradigm
Cool New Colors!
Manufacturer Accu-Chek Combo by Roche Animas Vibe
Tandem Diabetes Care

Paradigm Veo (Real Time System)

 by Medtronic



Resevoir Size 315 unit Cartridge system
(see our Products page for details)
200u 300u  176 u (in 522) or 300u (in 722 model) 200u
Battery Type 1 standard or rechargeable AA battery Uses one AA lithium battery. Can use a regular battery in a pinch Integrated rechargeble lithium polymer battery One AAA PDM: 2 Alkaline AAA Batteries
Battery Life 4 week average for standard AA or 1 week with rechargeable AA 6-8 weeks 7 days when fully charged  n/a 4 weeks
Pump size 3.2"x2.2"x.08" 3.25 x 2 x .85 inches
2.0 x 3.13 x .6 inches

522 model measures 5 x 7.6 x 2 cm

722 model measures 5 x 9 x 2 cm

OmniPod: 1.6 in. x 2.4 in. x 0.7 in.
PDM: 2.6 in. x 4.3 in. x 1.0 in.
Pump weight 2.8 oz pump
(4oz with filled insulin cartridge, battery and infusion set)
Approx 3.9 oz with full reservoir 3.95oz. with full reservoir

522 model  weighs only 100 grams with a full reservoir

722 model  weighs 108 grams with a full reservoir.

OmniPod: Approximately 1.2 oz. (with full reservoir)
PDM: 4.0 oz. (with batteries)

IPX8 (8' in depth for 60 minutes)

Waterproof at 3.6M (12 feet) for up to 24 hours IPX7 Rating. Watertight - tested at 3 feet for 30 minutes. Water resistant. It should not be worn to swim. 8 feet for 30 minutes
Luer  Lock             conections yes yes yes no integrated angled infusion set with automated cannula insertion and no tubing
Lowest Basal and Bolus rates  0.1 bolus rate with bolus increments of .1,0.2,0.5,1.0, 2.0
Basal delivery in 0.1 increments up to 25.0 U/hr
Minimum basal .5u per hour
.025 basal rate and .05 food bolus .05 to 25 unit bolus 

0.05 U/hr

0.05 U/hr increments, up to 30 U/hr

Bolus 0.05, 0.1, 0.5, 1.0 unit increments

Bolus Wizard yes in Palm device.
*Only works when used with linked meter
ezCarb Customizable Food Database. Meter-remote can store a customized list of up to 500 foods for easy carb counting on the go. Yes Bolus Wizard® Calculator simplifies insulin dosing and reduces math errors Integrated food database with over 1000 common food items

Suggested bolus calculator
Temporary Basal Patterns

10% increments from 0% to 250% in 15 minutes windows

-90% to +200% 15 minutes to 72 hours with 1 minute resolution Range: 0% - 250%

+/- 0.05 U/hr

+/- 1% 

Percentage or U/hr adjustments
Easy to use menu

Reversible graphic display

Side mounted tactile buttons for Quick bolus


High contrast color screen: white-on-dark type and a yellow bar that highlights each function as you navigate the screen. It has the largest screen currently available. Touch screen; black screen with blue, orange, red, grey text. Alpha-numeric keypad yes yes
Backlight yes Self illuminating so no backlight is needed Yes. Backlit color touch screen. yes yes
Works with BG monitor

yes, Accu-Chek Aviva and Accu-Chek Compact Plus

Animas Vibe works with DexCom CGM

Bayer's Contour Link Meter has been approved in Canada.  The Contour Link meter will be replacing the BD Blood Glucose meter that comes with Medtronic pumps.

Built in Freestyle BG meter
Customized Alerts Audible or vibrating bolus confirmation Compose your own tune or set to vibrate for most pump alert sounds. As customized low cartridge alert Reminders: Missed Meal Bolus; After Bolus; High BG; Low BG and Auto-Off Alarm yes Programmable reminders and alerts
Customized Basal Patterns Five rate profiles Four Six Four 7 programs with up to 24 segments each. Programmable in 30 minute increments
PC Compatible Software Yes

Infrared port for wireless data transfer

Accu-Chek Smart Pix device(USB plug and play)

Yes. Diasend web based software available in English and French for both Mac and PC platforms. Micro USB cable; t:connect diabetes management application available later this year.
Remote software update

Web Based - CareLink Personal, now available for Canadian customers in English and French

CareLnk Pro (Desktop software that HCPs can use to remotely access their patients' information previously uploaded into CareLink Personal) 

CGMS compatible n/a yes n/a  Yes. Uses the first of its kind, Real-Time Enlite Link sensor. This system is purchased separately.  
IOB calculator yes

8 time blocks for carb ratios and insulin sensitvities

choose your own times for your insulin-to-carb ratios, Insulin Sensitivity Factors (ISF) and blood glucose targets in 30-minute increments, up to 12 personal settings. yes yes yes
Personalized Insulin duration yes yes For IC Ratio: 16 time segments per 24-hour period. For ISF: 16 time segments no yes
Remote Bolus no  no n/a  optional yes
Color options blue Blue, pink, green, silver and black pump colours Standard Black. Case covers available in 5 colors: aztec black, midway silver, alpine Now in a wide range of colors including Pink!! white
Warranty 4 years 4 years 4 years 4 years 4 Year PDM Warranty

IR interface

2 tactile buttons

180 day back up pump

Electronic Diary

Reversible display

Available in 12 languages

resistant to static electricity and has memory protection in case battery is down for an extended period


Free Vacation travel loaner pump available for travel.

**This pump is not currently available in Canada and is to be upgraded in the US

RF Technology that allows the smart pump to upload data into CareLink. 

This technology also allows the Contour Link meter to send blood glucose readings to the pump 

*The 630G is currently available in the US

User comments and reviews:


For a great and comprehensive review of the Animas Vibe by an active user, please go to Animas Vibe--an indepth, long term use review

I have a been a T1D for 31 years and started on the Animas Vibe last June. I chose that particular pump because it was waterproof and it had integrated CGM technology. It has greatly improved my quality of life and my A1C.
Nancy, March 2015

Excellent customer service
I really liked the built in food database that helps you when bolusing for meals. The Animas lets you bolus in 0.05 unit increments and set basal rates in 0.025 unit increments. So it's great for anyone who's really sensitive to insulin. It's fully waterproof, the O-rings on the battery cover and the insulin reservoir really emphasize this. It also delivers the insulin boluses very quickly compared to my old Minimed. And despite the bright screen it doesn't seem to drain the single AA battery too quickly.
On the down side. I didn't like the speed at which the up and down arrows worked. The numbers scroll extremely quickly and it's hard to stop at exactly the right spot. I also missed seeing the carb information on the summary screen that's shown just before you get a chance to take a bolus. The history on the pump is very insulin centric, with no information about carbohydrate consumption or blood glucose values. I also wish the daily summary showed the ratio of meal boluses to correction boluses. Finally the accompanying software has a very dated feel, the reports are pretty basic and there is
no data export capability.
Even though I was just trying out the pump, Animas was very supportive any time I had a question.
from Bernard's Diabetes Blog

I could easily cancel the combo bolus, add the remainder to the new amount I am giving and give another combo bolus. Animas gives IOB with the total bolus on 1 screen (no scrolling) so you can make the decision to subtract the IOB or not based on the BG. Faster insulin delivery can cause some discomfort. Animas shows you the entire basal list with times and amounts on 1 screen so you can view the changes you make on 1 time period along with the rest of the time periods and amounts. I could do a negative temp basal (usually -10% for 30 minutes) AND it would show me how long we have left on the home screen.I do NOT change the insulin cartridge with a site change (that's wasteful). I change it when the pump tells me there are 20 units left in the cartridge. With Animas, there is simply a needle to get the insulin into the cartridge which is wonderful to be able to tip a nearly empty bottle to get all the insulin out. Animas has a much better "windows" based set up and much easier to read and bigger screens than Minimed.
from Rachel



I have been using a minimed now Medtronic pump since 2002 when we used the Minimed 508 for a year. Then, we got a free upgrade to a Metronic Paradigm pump in 2003 and it was warranted for 5 years. I ignored the Bolus Wizard pump when it came out because it really didn't offer me anything I wanted--I have always been able to do math in my head so why would I need a bolus wizard? We had used the Guardian and it was blinded in 2003. I saw the power of a cgms when we got the reports back. Yup! When my twin brother stopped in, my dh was going very low because I'd pre-bolussed my dh's lunch when I gave him his correction bolus. We also used it once unblinded, I think and I loved it. The cgms enabled pump came out first in Canada and we got one of the first cgms enabled pumps in the area. We hadn't even quite finished our warranty on the obsolete pump when we got the pump with cgms warranted for 4 years now. I used it for 5 years but the pump's buttons were sticking and the government would buy us a new pump and we had surgery coming up in the hospital so I went for the new pump with the new algorithm and as the transmitter needed more recharging all the time we bought a new transmitter as well. The new veo pump + new transmitter + enlite sensors are the cat's proverbial. I catch most lows before the bg goes under 3.6. I have the low set at 4.0 and often the bg monitor says 4.0 as well. I haven't had an unexpected low in I don't know how long. The cgms does not record highs as well. A 16.0 or a 20.0 will show up as a 11.0. How stupid is that? However, we try to monitor frequently and catch any highs early. Dianna, March 2015


We used Cozmo for 2 years then switched to the MM Real Time in able to have the CGMS.  It took us many months to get used to the small differences between Cozmo and MM but once we got used to it it was just as good as the Cozmo.  We sort of had to retrain ourselves to REMEMBER site change days b/c there is no alarm to tell you on the MM.  There were a few other little things too that drove me nuts but I can now officially say I love my MM pump just as much as my Cozmo pump. "

I have a medtronic insulin pump and it has change my life. Medtronic inuslin pumps are great.

"We have the Medtronic Minimed (which is the realtime one). The constant glucose monitors aren't covered by insurances yet, but they are working on it. We love the minimed. It is so easy to use! _____ is able to do most of it herself, and she has only been on it since June 19th. It is very user-friendly. Her a1c's dropped by 10% in the first two weeks on it. I would highly recommend it."

We have the MM712, it is 3 years old and already behind the curve where smart pumps are today. With that being said I may love the newer smart pumps. I do not love this pump. I don’t like knowing that I only have 4 or 5 sets to chose from, since the connector is only with Paradigm pumps. There is the quickset, the silhouette, the sure-t, the sof-set (not recommended for smaller children) and the polyfin (not recommended for small children). We have had many problems with customer support…anytime anything has gone wrong it has been classified “user error” before you even explain what happened."

I cannot cancel the dual wave/square wave boluses so I can give a new dual wave.   Also, when you have a dual wave or square wave bolus going and you hit "act", it automatically goes to "suspend" instead of back to bolus.  That will take some getting used to. One advantage Minimed has is the "easy bolus" key. You can bypass all the menus and go straight to the bolus wizard. Minimed is better with straight (normal) boluses because it goes in slower than Animas. Minimed shows the total bolus and you have to scroll down to see the Active insulin making it more difficult to remember the amount and making the decision to subtract the active insulin tricky for my math challenged mind. *you can cancel the dual wave..you just don't like the steps that it takes you through to get to it...but it can be done.  You can see all the basal on a screen, just look at basal review...when changing, yes, you have one basal on a screen at a time. Minimed does not have a protective cover for the cartridge cap. There is an activity guard that "is perfect for participating in rough-and-tumble sports." It locks over the battery cover and reservoir compartment for extra protection. Minimed does not give you this info so you can determine if you have the basal vs. bolus ratio semi correct (basal 40% and bolus 60%). When you download your pump to Carelink, it gives you all that information and more. And you can forward it to your MD or CDE and they also can view it immediately, helping to adjust dosages very quickly. The download itself takes very little effort or time. In fact, you do not even need to disconnect the pump to do it.


'I tried a demo of the Omnipod, but decided against it and went with the Minimed. I think that the Omnipod is great, it just wasn't for me. I wore it for three days and had a lot of trouble sleeping with it on. That was probably the biggest reason I chose not to go with it."

Infusion Sets

90 degree sites...

Disetronic Rapid-D uses 28 gauge needle. Inserts at 90 degrees. Multiple base units allow you to change infusion sites without changing tubing. Low profile design makes it very discreet. 

Inset II or Insets by Animas
This set has a teflon cannula. It has an all in one infusion set and inserter. It disconnects at the point of insertion. Small, flat infusion set design.  One-handed insertion and hidden introducer needle. Disconnect and connect the tubing at the site. Convenient needle protection after use. Safe to carry without compromising sterility. 23 and 43 inch tubing. 27 gauge introducer needle with 6 and 9mm cannulas

mioThe mio™ infusion set is Medtronic Diabetes new "all-in-one" design that combines the infusion set and insertion device into one unit. This 90°, soft cannula set is available in a variety of configurations and colors to match your personal body type, preferences, and lifestyle

Quicksets use a 90 degree insertion. Luer Lock or Paradigm connection. 6 or 9 mm needle. 25 gauge intro needle, 27 gauge cannula.  23, 43 inch tubing lengths.

30 degree sites

Inset 30 by Animas. 

Pre-fixed 30 degree insertion angle. One handed insertion. Small and flat infusion set design. Ergonomic design with integrated insertion devise and a reversible connector that makes connecting and disconnecting a snap. Transparent window to view the site. Well-protected introducer needle. Disconnect and connect the tubing at the site. Convenient needle protection after use. Quiet release of the insertion devise. Available in blue, pink and grey with 23 and 43 inch tubing lengths. 13mm cannula.



_____ has just began using these. Mom likes them, but she doesn't. She says that they hurt a lot more (even with the numbing cream) than the insets or the comfort detach. Mom doesn't like the insets. Each site change Mom ends up using two of them b/c the first one comes off as she withdraws the needle. Anyway, Mom is not sure if _____ doesn't like them b/c they are new, or if ____ really doesn't like them. She is a child that is very resistant to change.

We have been using the Inset 30 for about a week.   We were using ContactD (straight in needle site).   We had no complaints with ContactD - they are super easy to insert and in one year of pumping we only had one site failure.  But ______ could be somewhat protective of his site.
Inserting the Inset 30 is super easy.  The device has these little feet on it so you get the angle right.  No pinching up skin, just squeeze the device.  Removing the needle kind of psyches me out because it is so long, but Oliver said it doesn't really hurt.  The device is actually really gentle and doesn't make the big THWACK the Inset makes.

Our first site failed.  Luckily, _____ was willing to try again, and so far it's been working great.  I like the window so that I can actually see the site.   He also likes that we haven't had to tape it down with IV3000 like we used to do with the Contact-D (which would hardly stick to him at all).  So far, it has stuck through several baths and swimming.   It is easier for him to connect/disconnect himself (not sure if that's good or bad....)  He says it is comfortable.  He also is happy that we only have to change it every third day instead of every second.  I really like that also. So, we are really happy with it.

Wow! If you read the instructions it is the easiest site to use! No touching of tape to begin with. Nice viewing window. Perfect if you like to use 30 degree sets.

      Tenders; Comfort; and Silhouettes all use a 30 degree insertion.  They have 13mm Teflon cannula. 25 gauge intro needle, 27 gauge cannula.  24, 31, 43 inch tubing.  All have luer lock connection.

Disetronic offers the MiniTender with a smaller cannula size.


Where do you put a set?

Just like injection therapy, insulin infusion sites must be rotated.  Site maps such as the one below may help to keep track of insertion sites and reduce the chance of hypertrophy.


You are not limited to using only one area of your body.  Any area suitable for injections may also be used for infusion sets.  Here are just some of the areas that can be used...


The abdomen The thigh

The arm


How do you change a site?

Site changes should be taught by a certified pump trainer!! Below is a demonstration of how "we" change a 90 degree infusion set. This should be used as a guide ONLY.  It has been brought to our attention that our method and the method described by the Animas website (who distribute this set) are different. They do not require that you pinch the skin for one but it is an old MDI habit that I cannot break especially on a small child with minimal fat. Please remember to go through your trainer and read your manuals before doing a site change. This is only a guide for those who may forget or simply are curious as to what it may look like to do.

For those who would prefer to insert the site according to the InsetII instructions, here is where we differ. I do not use the automatic inserter built into the site (as you can tell from the instructions below).  The Animas instructions suggest that after you have removed the adhesive backing paper you "Place fingers on lined indentations. Press lined indentations on each side. Pull spring up until you hear a "click" (this is what we do NOT do). Carefully remove the needle guard by gently twisting and then pulling it. Place tubing in the slot so that it is not caught under the devise when inserting. Position InsetII. Simultaneously press the round indentations on either side of the insertion devise to insert it. Push gently on the center of the inserter to secure the adhesive on the skin. Remove the inserter needle by grasping the center and pulling it gently back. Massage the tape thoroughly into the skin and fill cannula."
Click on pictures to see larger images...

3 steps to change a site

Cleaning site with alcoholAdding Mastisol

Attaching Tubing to pump attaching to pump Pump attached to site

Remove site backing Inserting an Inset into Leg

Finishing site


How do you wear your pump? 

Pump clips....

  (not so traditional method of wearing your pump!)

Pump Pouches



How do you log when using an insulin pump?

Here are a few of the log pages that work for others....

Pump log A: available in excel format
Date: Site Location________ Breakfast Ratio________ Lunch Ratio_______   Supper Ratio Snack Ratio______ Site Change?
over 15                                                
ReseviorFill? 12am 1am 2am 3am 4am 5am 6am 7am 8am 9am 10am 11am noon 1pm 2pm 3pm 4pm 5pm 6pm 7pm 8pm 9pm 10pm 11pm
BG Levels                                                
Food Bolus                                                
Correction Bolus                                                
Temp Basal                                                
Activity length:                                                  
Activity Type                                                  
Time Breakfast CHO Time Snack CHO Time Lunch CHO Time Snack CHO Time Supper CHO Totals
                                                7Day Basal
    Total       Total       Total         Total       Total  

Diabetes Pump Log Sheet: Available in Word

Date: February 2, 2004











Blood Glucose










19.4at 10:30pm












Meal Bolus+Supl Bolus











Pump log B: Available in excel
  My Insulin:carb ratio for AM is __________________                
      My Insulin:carb ratio for lunch is________________                
Date:   My Insulin:carb ratio for supper is_______________                
      My Insulin:carb ratio for snacks is_______________                
My Correction Factor is _______________________
      I correct to a target of _________________________                
      7am 8am 9am 10am 11am noon 1pm 2pm 3pm 4pm 5pm 6pm 7pm 8pm 9pm 10pm  11pm midn
Bg Reading                                        
Basal Rate                                        
Food Bolus                                        
Correction Bolus                                        
Temp Basal rate                                        
Breakfast Time CHO Time Lunch CHO Time Supper CHO Time Snacks CHO Time  Bedtime CHO
Total   0     Total 0     Total 0           Total   0
Site Placement:_____________ Outside at recess__________ Gym day:___________ Bed Time___________  

Pump log D: Available in excel 
NAME:     DATE:     DAY: Saturday      
BG Readings/ Reactions                                                
    0100 0200 0300 0400 0500 0600 0700 0800 0900 1000 1100 1200 1300 1400 1500 1600 1700 1800 1900 2000 2100 2200 2300 2400
Basal Rate 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0..0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Carbo Bolus                                                
High BG Bolus                                                
Meal Time BREAKFAST Carbs (gms)   Meal Time LUNCH Carbs (gms)   Meal Time DINNER Carbs (gms)
Food Description   Food Description   Food Description  
          Total = 0             Total = 0             Total = 0



Intensive Management log: Available in Word
















































Total CHO






















Meal Bolus






















High Bolus



























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