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Different insulin pump models

The choice of pump model is influenced by one's own needs and the options available at their care provider.

The insulin pump is a medical device owned by the individual's care unit or hospital district, provided to the user free of charge. The supplies for pump therapy are available for free from the care product distribution of one's own wellbeing services county, based on a referral from the individual's care provider.

In Finland, there are insulin pumps from several importers which vary somewhat in their features. The available pumps might differ between different wellbeing services counties and care providers.

A basic pump includes a tube, but none of the additional features of a sensor or hybrid pump. Basic pump can be used with a compatible blood glucose meter, which makes it possible to utilise the dose guide of the pump. Basic pump can also be used with a glucose sensor equipped with a scanner function, which enables setting high or low blood sugar alerts. A basic pump, however, does not "communicate" directly with the glucose sensor, and the sensor is its own separate device.

A lightweight pump can be “disposable”, i.e. the quantity of insulin required over a 3-day period is inserted into the pump before it is attached, and the cannula is inserted under the skin directly from the pump without a separate tube. A pump like this is always replaced as a whole.

Another option is a tubeless pump in which only the insulin reservoir and the cannula linked to it are replaced every 3 days.

The pump and settings are controlled by a dedicated remote control. They can be used together with a blood glucose meter or a glucose sensor.

This type of pump is used with a wireless glucose sensor, which enables continuous glucose monitoring. The pump gives an alarm if the glucose level is not within the limits.

The sensor does not affect the insulin dosage, unless the pump includes a predictive function, which stops the flow of basal insulin. If the sensor detects that glucose drops or is at the risk of dropping to the individually set minimum level, it stops the flow of insulin. Insulin flow is restarted by the user or the pump restarts it after the blood sugar level has been corrected or after two hours.

A sensor-augmented pump is extremely useful for a person with severe low blood sugar issues or who is unable to detect low blood sugar.

Hybrid pump is also called self-regulated or smart pump. Slightly misleadingly, it is also sometimes referred to as an “artificial pancreas”. The hybrid pump delivers the basal insulin independently on the basis of continuous glucose monitoring (CGM). Some hybrid pumps can also deliver small doses of correction bolus. The pump reduces the insulin dose when blood sugar goes down and increases the dose when it goes up.

To begin with, the device is used for 1–2 weeks in manual mode, in other words, the dose is determined similar to other pumps. After this, the dose is based on the user’s personal insulin therapy information as well as the pump’s algorithms.

The user continues to estimate the carbohydrates in their food and enter the meal information in the pump, which then suggests a suitable bolus dose. Calibration measurements from the fingertip are done daily upon the pump's request for calibration (depending on the device model), and the data collected by the device are regularly uploaded to the cloud service by the user.

Updated 8.11.2023