Following is a brief description of what insulin pump therapy is and the components required to operate these systems.
An insulin pump is a small electronic device, about the size of a mobile phone that delivers a continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion (CSII). A pump replaces the need for frequent injections by delivering precise doses of insulin 24 hours a day.
Insulin pump therapy has a number of components required to deliver insulin:
The pump – each brand of pump will have specific reservoirs and infusion sets that have to be used. It is important to check compatibility.
The reservoir – the reservoir is a plastic cartridge that holds insulin and is locked into the pump. They can come in different sizes.
The infusion set – the infusion set is a thin tube that goes from the reservoir to the infusion site (cannula) on the body. Insulin is infused into the body through the infusion set. They can come in different tubing lengths.
The cannula – the cannula is inserted with a small needle that is removed after it is in place. It is inserted just under the skin into the subcutaneous fat layer. Infusion sites are changed every 2-3 days. They can come in different cannula lengths.
There are currently four brands of pump consumables subsidised by the NDSS. These are:
Animas (AMSL Australia Limited)
Dana (not very commonly used in Australia)
Some pumps can also work in conjunction with a Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM). This is a small wearable device (that is sold separately) and tracks glucose throughout the day and night, notifiying the wearer of highs and lows so that appropriate action can be taken.