Insulin pump therapy

What Is Insulin Pump Therapy?


  • The benefits of Insulin Pump Therapy

How Does an Insulin Pump Work?

An insulin pump is a small electronic device, about the size of a smartphone, that can be easily carried on a belt, inside a pocket, or attached to a bra and so virtually invisible to others. The device is attached to your body via a thin tube called an Infusion Set. This makes insulin pump therapy very discreet.  An insulin pump replaces the need for frequent injections by delivering rapid acting insulin continuously 24 hours a day. 

  • Basal Rate: This is the small amount of insulin that your insulin pump continuously gives you. Your pre-programmed rate is determined by your own body's needs and programmed by your healthcare professional. Because the quantity can be more precise and the rates can be customised e.g. can very each hour if need be, an insulin pump can mimic a healthy pancreas more closely.  

  • Bolus Dose: Additional insulin can be delivered “on demand” to match the food you are going to eat or to correct a high blood sugar. Insulin pumps have bolus calculators that help you calculate your bolus amount based on settings that are pre-determined by your healthcare professional and again based on your individual needs. 

How does insulin get from the pump to your body?

The insulin pump has a compartment that holds a reservoir that is filled with insulin. From the pump's reservoir insulin travels along a thin tube and "infused" into your body through an infusion set which is inserted into your skin. The infusion set contains a small cannula which is sits just under the skin.  The pump and tubing can easily disconnect and reconnect to your body whenever you want to. This can be helpful, for example when you want to shower or play sports.

Infusion set overview


Components of the Insulin Pump Therapy System

Insulin Pump

A small durable electronic device that has:

- Buttons to program your insulin and navigate through the menu
- LCD colour screen to show what you are programming
- Battery compartment to hold 1 AA alkaline battery
- Reservoir compartment                                                                                                                                    


A plastic cartridge that holds the insulin that is locked into the insulin pump.  A reservoir can hold up to 300 units of insulin and is changed every two to three days when you change the infusion set. The MiniMed reservoirs have been designed to make filling a quick and convenient process.

Infusion Set

An infusion set includes a thin tube that goes from the reservoir to the infusion site on your body.  It is placed into the same sites (areas) on your body where you would normally give your insulin injections.  The infusion set is changed every two to three days.  There is a wide range of MiniMed™ infusion sets available (cannula type, cannula length and tubing length) to meet your individual needs and preferences.

What are the benefits of insulin pump therapy?

Insulin pump therapy can offer many Clinical benefits over multiple daily injection therapy:1,2

  • better HbA1c control
  • fewer hypoglycaemic events
  • reduction in glycaemic variability

An insulin pump also has other advantages that can help you to manage day to day life more easily. For example using a bolus calculator to help you work out accurate boluses, and the ability to set up different basal 'patterns' for work days or holidays.

Is an Insulin Pump right for you?

Many people with Type 1 diabetes may benefit from an insulin pump without even knowing it. In general if they experience any of the following, they could get better control with an insulin pump:

  • Fear of needles
  • Difficulty in managing highs and lows
  • Fear of hypoglycaemia, especially at night
  • HbA1c outside target range
  • Reduced hypoglycaemia awareness
  • Concerns about long-term complications
  • Seeking more flexibility in everyday life

Talk to your diabetes healthcare professional about insulin pump therapy and whether it may be right for you.

If you would like to learn more about the benefits of pump therapy please view our patient stories.


  • 1 J. C. Pickup and A. J. Sutton Severe hypoglycaemia and glycemic control in Type 1 diabetes: meta-analysis of multiple daily insulin injections compared with continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion Diabetic Medicine 2008 :25, 765–774
  • 2 Bergenstal RM1, Tamborlane WV, Ahmann A, Buse JB, Dailey G, Davis SN, Joyce C, Perkins BA, Welsh JB, Willi SM, Wood MA; STAR 3 Study Group. Sensor-augmented pump therapy for A1C reduction (STAR 3) study: results from the 6-month continuation phase. Diabetes Care. 2011 Nov;34(11):2403-5. doi: 10.2337/dc11-1248. Epub 2011 Sep 20.
  • * Ly T.T, Nicholas J.A., Retterath A. et al. Reduction of Severe Hypoglycemia with Sensor-Augmented Insulin Pump Therapy and Automated Insulin Suspension in Patients with Type 1 Diabetes [abstract]. Diabetes 2013; 62 (supplement 1): 228-OR


The content and all information provided on this website is for your informational use only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment in any manner. The patient stories provided are experiences specific to a particular patient. Responses to a treatment may vary from patient to patient. Always talk with your physician about diagnosis and treatment information and ensure that you understand and carefully follow that information.

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