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Insulin Pumps...

This does not replace any medical advice. The following is for your information only. Please feel free to share with your diabetes team but it does not make any changes in your diabetes management without first consulting your diabetes team

An insulin pump is not a cure but another method of insulin delivery. It is a small pager-like device that mechanically pumps set amounts of fast-acting insulin into the patient's body. This is not yet a closed loop system. It is a system that requires the setting of "basal rates" and the calculation of various insulin to food ratios to be used in the run of a day.

Unlike Multiple Daily Injection therapy (MDI), pump therapy does not use a long-lasting insulin but small amounts of fast-acting insulin are delivered throughout the day. For some this leads to feelings of unease as the threat of DKA (Diabetic Ketoacidosis) looms greater. For others it simply leads to feelings of freedom as they no longer are forced to follow the clock. The peaks of long-lasting NPH insulins may have been a problem, or the single basal rate offered by insulin glargine may not match their body's needs.

An insulin pump lets you set a variety of "basal rates" to meet the naturally occurring needs of your body. It further allows you to match insulin to carbohydrate intake rather than having to "feed" your insulin. You now chose to eat, snack or graze.

Pumping insulin is not for everyone. It is another method of insulin delivery. Some do not like the idea of being attached to a mechanical device 24/7 but the freedom, flexibility and tight control often outweighs any of the negative concerns.


Please take your time when choosing an insulin pump.  You need to the pump to fit with your needs and your lifestyle. We have a detailed outline of each pump company's current styles and features, as well as opinions for those who are currently using an insulin pump.

The basic insulin pump system currently costs approximately $7200CAD and require monthly pump supplies. These costs are often, but not always covered by private insurance plans.  In Canada, more and more provinces are also beginning to realize the long term benefits of covering insulin pumps and supplies under their provincial health care policies


A continous glucose monitor (CGM)  can be a part of an insulin pump.  These pumps are known as "sensor augmented pumps" (see Animas or Medtronic pumps for details).  CGMs can also be stand alone devices used by both pumpers and those on multiple daily injections.

What does it  all look like?

pump description All together!


Today's most popular insulin pump brands

Medtronic 630G

Medtronic 630G


  • linked to Contour glucometer
  • Remote bolusing from Contour next meter
  • Uses Medtronic patented infusion sets
  • Uploads to Careline software
  • Threshold suspend aka Smartguard technology
  • Suspend on low
  • Black only pump
  • Portrait display
  • Waterproof
  • Predictive alerts
  • Built in CGM using Enlite Sensors
  • Colour screen
  • IOB on home screen
  • Easier pump navigation
  • More alarm customization
  • Improved CGM transmitter

Drawbacks noted by Diatribe.org

  • Cannot be software updated to add next-gen automation algorithms: 640G with predictive suspend (outside the US) or the 670G hybrid closed loop (under FDA review)
  • Upgrade program is expensive for current Medtronic users
  • Current Medtronic users must also purchase new transmitter
  • Not compatible with MiniMed Connect remote monitoring device, no Bluetooth included
  • Only approved for those over 16
  • Slightly larger than previous pump




  • Tubeless
  • 200 unit pods
  • 2 AAA batteries
  • Batteries last 4 weeks
  • Automatic inserter with no visible needles
  • Pink slide insert window to ensure the cannula has deployed
  • Strong adhesive
  • Pod has durable, water-proof exterior shell
  • Handheld PDM has built-in FreeStyle blood glucose (BG) meter
  • PDM has large color screen with bright light option
  • Customizable ID screen
  • Test strip port light for low-light conditions
  • Suggested bolus calculator
  • Downloadable data
  • Intuitive prompts
  • Reduced upfront costs
  • Discreet
  • Drawbacks as noted by  Integrated Diabetes Services 

    • Bulky programmer
    • Pod creates a bulge on the skin
    • Must have PDM to bolus or make changes to delivery
    • Cannot program or edit while bolus is delivering
    • Only one canula orientation which may not work for all body types
    • 200 unit pods
    • Pods stop working after 72 hours (plus grace period)
    • dislodged or clogged canula requires complete pod change.
    • No vibrate settings
    • Pod must be suspended to change basal rates
    • Temp basals are limited to 12 hours
    • If you lose the PDM, no boluses can be given.
    • Does not work with a CGM currently


    Tandem X2 Insulin Pump

    Tandem Insulin pump

    *Coming to Canada in 2018


    • Smaller than previous models
    • 300 unit reservoir
    • Full colour touch screen
    • iPhone look
    • Fastest bolus entry
    • Can bolus up to 50 units
    • Site-change reminder w/customizable day and time
    • Graphic on screen history
    • Bolus calculator
    • Temp basal up to 250%, 72 hrs
    • Can set duration of insulin action in 1-minute increments
    • IOB shown on home screen
    • Missed bolus reminders
    • Warns of high insulin temps
    • Uses leur lock infusion sets
    • No batteries required
    • New Basal-IQ™ Technology
    • Dexcom integration


    Drawbacks as noted by  Integrated Diabetes Services 

    • Small buttons can be a problem
    • Pump must be unlocked to do anything
    • Weak vibration setting
    • Extra confirmation steps with all programming
    • Must be recharged 1-2x per week


    To see what other insulin pump users feel about their insulin pumps, please click here. To share your opinion, please email us.


    Infusion Sets


    Infusion sets come in three basic options...90 degree sites, 30 degree sites and steel cannulas.  You may want to consider your weight, activity level and where you are planning on placing an infusion set before you decide which infusion set to use.


    90 degree sites...



    The Cleo is distributed by Smith Medical®  and offers a built-in, automated injector for people using luer lock connections.

    Disetronic Rapid-D

    The Rapid-D® uses 28 gauge needle. Inserts at 90 degrees. Multiple base units allow you to change infusion sites without changing tubing. Low profile design makes it very discreet. 

    Inset II by Animas®

    Inset II

    This set has a teflon cannula. It has an all in one infusion set and inserter. It disconnects at the point of insertion. Small, flat infusion set design.  One-handed insertion and hidden introducer needle. Disconnect and connect the tubing at the site. Convenient needle protection after use. Safe to carry without compromising sterility. 23 and 43 inch tubing. 27 gauge introducer needle with 6 and 9mm cannulas

    AutoSoft90 by Tandem® Diabetes Care

    autosoft 90

    This set also has a teflon cannula, has an all in one infusion set and inserter, and disconnects at the point of insertion.  It also has a small, flat infusion set design.  One-handed insertion and hidden introducer needle. Disconnect and connect the tubing at the site. Convenient needle protection after use. Safe to carry without compromising sterility. 23 and 43 inch tubing. 27 gauge introducer needle with 6 and 9mm cannulas.  For Canadian pumpers, Tandem® Diabetes Care infusion sets can only be purchased at your local pharmacy.



    is Medtronic® Diabetes "all-in-one" design that combines the infusion set and insertion device into one unit. This 90°, soft cannula set is available in a variety of configurations and colors to match your personal body type, preferences, and lifestyle.


    Quicksets® use a 90 degree insertion. Luer Lock or Paradigm connection. 6 or 9 mm needle. 25 gauge intro needle, 27 gauge cannula.  23, 43 inch tubing lengths.

    30 degree sites

    AutoSoft30 by Tandem® Diabetes Care


    The Autosoft30® has a pre-fixed 30 degree insertion angle. Its built in inserter makes one handed insertion easy. Its transparent window makes it easy to view the site. Has a well-protected introducer needle. Disconnect and connect the tubing at the site. Convenient needle protection after use. Quiet release of the insertion devise. In Canada, these sites are available only at your pharmacy in varied colours with 23 and 43 inch tubing lengths. 13mm cannula.

    Inset 30


    by Animas are a pre-fixed 30 degree insertion angle. One handed insertion. Small and flat infusion set design. Ergonomic design with integrated insertion devise and a reversible connector that makes connecting and disconnecting a snap. Transparent window to view the site. Well-protected introducer needle. Disconnect and connect the tubing at the site. Convenient needle protection after use. Quiet release of the insertion devise. Available in blue, pink and grey with 23 and 43 inch tubing lengths. 13mm cannula.

    Silhouette, Comfort, Tender or Tandem VariSoft®


    all have a 30 degree manual insertion.  The Tandem® VariSoft can be purchased through your local pharmacy in Canada.  

    Steel Cannula


    Tandem® Diabetes Care offers the TruSteel infusion set which has a 90 degree manually inserted steel cannula which is often preferred by people who have issues with cannuals kinking. These sites must be changed after 3 days and cannot be left in longer.



    Where do you put an infusion set?

    Just like injection therapy, insulin infusion sites must be rotated.  Site maps such as the one below may help to keep track of insertion sites and reduce the chance of hypertrophy.


    You are not limited to using only one area of your body.  Any area suitable for injections may also be used for infusion sets.  Here are just some of the areas that can be used...


    The abdomen

      The thigh

    The arm


    How do you wear your pump? 

    Pump clips...

      (not so traditional method of wearing your pump!)

    Pump Pouches





    Insulin Pumper Testimonials


    The following comments are opinions volunteered by people currently using insulin pumps.


    Tandem T:Slim X2...There is nothing I can complain about.  I was a Medtronic user for over 15 years and I have better control and regulation with the Tandem.  I LOVE the so easy to use touch screen, the bright display, the ease of use all around...I LOVE even more that unlike my Medtronic, it doesn't alarm constantly.  It can be more exact dosing than the Medtronic, and its small and VERY durable.  I broke/cracked more Medtronic pumps than I can count, but I have not had to return a single Tandme pump due to breaks, damage, or even malfunction, only when I upgraded. (DISCLAIMER...I have no bad feeling nor am I saying anything bad about Medtronic.  I undersand some people love theirs and would never have any different.  I also understand that Medtronic may now offer some of the things it did not when I had a Medtroinc pump.  I am merely just giving my opinion and experience.  Emily H



    How do you log when using an insulin pump?

    Check out some great log book ideas by clicking here...

    More information on Insulin Pump Therapy...

     Pump Coverage Pumping Tips Starting Pumping


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    This site does not supply clinical treatment information or medical advice. The editor of this site is NOT a medical professional.  Any advice or information you may receive through this website or our mailing lists is not guaranteed and should always be discussed with your health care provider .  All links are provided for your convenience and further do not signify any endorsement on our behalf.