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Guide to Diabetes

Insulin Pump Therapy 


What is insulin pump therapy?
Continuous Subcutaneous Insulin infusion (CSII or ‘insulin pumps’)

If you have Type 1 Diabetes Insulin is the only form of treatment. The body does no make enough insulin to deal with the rise in blood glucose, particulary when you eat. Insulin has to be given to the body. Insulin pump therapy is a way of getting insulin into the body without regularly injecting insulin manually.
The insulin enters the body via an Insulin Pump.


Across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland there are over 234 adult patients, currently having insulin pump therapy. Patients can apply via the PCT for funding. Leicester is the leading and Only Center that does DAFNE and PUMPS- See DAFNE Education 

Who can use insulin pumps?

Insulin pumps are usually recommended as a treatment by the consultant for patients with Type 1 diabetes:

  • Over 16 years of age
  • If long term blood glucose levels (HbA1c) managed with multiple injections, continue to cause severe hypos. (low blood glucose)
  • HbA1c levels have remained high on multiple injection therapy even after regular support from healthcare professionals including Structured Education Programmes (ie DAFNE) and attempts at self management.
  • When a child under 12 is struggling with multiple daily injections insulin pump therapy maybe considered.
  • Insulin pump therapy is NOT recommend for patient with Type 2 Diabetes


Diabetes Specialist Nurses Support

Across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland currently we have 2 diabetes specialist nurses based at the Leicester Royal Infirmary (LRI) who are dedicated to providing a pump support service. If you require further information please contact: DSN unit Tel: 0116 258 5545


How does an insulin pump work?

An Insulin Pump is a small programmable device that holds an insulin cartridge /reservoir and delivers a continuous flow (basal rate) of insulin to the body through a thin plastic tube inserted in the body.

A pump is programmed to automatically deliver small pulses of insulin over 24 hours to keep blood glucose in the desired ranges between meals and overnight. Extra insulin is then given by the patient at the touch of a button to cover meal times.

Most infusion sets are worn in the abdominal area and use a tiny flexible tube called a canula, which is inserted easily into the skin. Patients generally refill their insulin reservoir and change their infusion sets every 2-3 days. See Picture above.


Patient benefits

  • Improved quality of life
  • Ability to improve control without additional injections.
  • Insulin pump therapy provides more accurate delivery of insulin over the 24 hour period and can be tailored to each patient’s individual needs
  • Increased energy and well being
  • The flexibility of lifestyle appears to be the main successful outcome from a patient’s perspective. Many patients find their lifestyle is restricted by insulin injection therapy, particularly with respect to the timing of meals and the need to plan activities. The ability to tailor bolus (extra dose) Insulin delivery to the individual’s food intake, independently of the basal (background) rate allows flexibility in terms of meal timing.
  • Diabetes Control
  • A pump can help patients avoid hyperglycaemia, (High blood sugars) which in the long term can cause diabetic complications.
  • Pump therapy can also help prevent Hypoglycaemia (low blood sugars) particularly at night time when a person sleeps.
  • Fewer fluctuations in blood glucose levels during the course of the day.
  • Improved long term control (HbA1c)
  • Less hyperglycaemia, (particularly at night time when a person sleeps) which in the long term can cause diabetic complications
  • A person managing their diabetes with an insulin pump can easily adapt their treatment to changes in their daily routine, for example through travel or variable working hours, exercise.

In emergencies

A supply of insulin pens should be kept just in case the pump fails.


Useful links

Insulin Pumpers UK