Insulin Pumps: Comparing Ease of Use Features

If shopping for an insulin pump you will want to know what features are common to all insulin pumps, and what unique and ease of use features set the various pumps apart.

Common Pump Features

All insulin pumps provide the following: 24/7 toll-free helpline, complete training, child safety lockout, internal safety checks, easy programming, infusion set options, extended bolus options, programmable reminders, data download to PC, low battery alert, low insulin alert, upgradeable software, programmable active insulin time.

Unique and Ease-of-Use Pump Features

The list below shows six distinct advantages that each pump offers, plus one or two possible disadvantages.

Animas Ping

  • It links to a One-Touch Ping blood glucose meter for bolus programming.
  • The pump is fully water-tight.
  • Insulin cartridges are easy to fill w/out getting air bubbles.
  • Full color screen is bright, easy to read, and has adjustable contrast.
  • Uses AA Lithium battery that lasts six to eight weeks.
  • Delivers a 35 unit maximum bolus.
  • Notable disadvantage: insulin cartridge has a 200 unit limit (most are about 300u).

Asante SNAP

  • Low up-front cost to consumer and 30 day free trial.
  • Uses 300 unit prefilled cartridges; cartridge changes are fast and simple; low cartridge notification upon wake-up.
  • No charging or battery changes.
  • Large display screen readout, and a built-in flashlight.
  • Separate weekday and weekend alerts.
  • Quick access to bolus calculator.
  • Notable disadvantage: the pump only uses Humalog cartridges.

Insulet OmniPod

  • Lower than average up-front costs.
  • No tubing is required, and cannula insertion is automated.
  • A freestyle meter is built into the handheld programmer.
  • The large color screen has full sentence text and graphing capabilities.
  • Air pockets/bubbles are mechanically purged from the reservoir.
  • Pump is fully watertight.
  • Notable disadvantages: the maximum reservoir volume is 200 units and the cannula length may not suit all body types.

Medtronic 530G w/ Enlite

  • Medtronic is a industry leader with 30 plus years in the pump business.
  • Displays data from the Medtronic Enlite Continuous Glucose Monitor.
  • Very quick and simple bolus programming plus a low glucose auto-suspend feature.
  • Insulin to carb ratios can be set in .1g increments.
  • Optional remote control available at additional cost.
  • Generates carbohydrate, insulin and blood glucose statistics.
  • Notable disadvantages: the pump is not water-tight and has poor screen contrast.

Roche Accu-Chek Combo

  • Offers complete pump programming via a linked remote/meter (bluetooth technology).
  • Bright color screen and choice of 3 programming modes to suit user’s sophistication level.
  • Runs on alkaline, lithium, or rechargeable batteries.
  • History displays as graphic reports on meter screen.

  • Boluses can be adjusted in percentages to accommodate events such as illness, exercise, or stress.
  • Intelligent IOB (insulin on board) adjustment—based on anticipated effect of bolus insulin.
  • Notable disadvantages: bolus calculations have to be done on the linked meter; only one meter can be linked to a pump.

Tandem t:slim

  • Compact, smartphone-like appearance; bright, full-color touch screen.
  • It is easy to fill the insulin cartridges without getting air bubbles.
  • Able to calculate boluses up to 50 units.
  • Has a carb counting calculator and graphic on-screen history display.
  • Customizable site change reminder and an alert for high temperatures that can spoil insulin.
  • Duration of insulin action can be set in one minute increments.
  • Notable disadvantage: small screen buttons may be difficult for some people to activate.

Source: Integrated Diabetes
Photo credit: Vic / flickr

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