Tube-free insulin pumpsThursday, 23 December 2021
Over the last few years tubeless insulin pumps have been approved for use in Australia. These insulin pumps, sometimes called tubeless patch pumps or pod pumps, do not have tubing as part of the infusion set, instead only a small cannula to facilitate insulin delivery. They attach to the skin so there is no need to worry about clothing choices to accommodate carrying your pump.
How do these pumps work?
The pumps do not have a screen so they use a personal delivery manager (PDM) or receiver to send information to the pump for insulin delivery. The PDM is similar to a smart phone. Unfortunately, to date there is not an app to control these pumps so the user needs to have a smart phone for their continuous glucose monitor (CGM) and a transmitter (PDM) for the pump.
As the CGM and micro pumps do not communicate with each other, the option of auto-stop or auto-basal adjustment is not available.
One advantage of these pumps is that they can be worn on the back of the arms, stomach, thighs or buttocks, providing more flexibility in regards to placement sites of traditional tubing pumps.
Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the two:
|Cost||Covered by private health insurance and disposable parts subsidised by NDSS for eligible persons.||Introductory offer which provides you with 2 boxes of pods (around 2 months worth of pods) and a Personal Diabetes Manager kit for $799.|
|Waterproof||No. Needs to be removed from pump holder while in water.||Waterproof with an IP28 rating for up to 7.6 metres for 60 minutes.|
|Reservoir||200 units||200 units|
|Wear time||Pump base replace every 4 months
Cannula and pump holder maximum wear is 3 days
Reservoir maximum wear is 4 days.
|Replace pod every 3 days.|
|Data Upload||Accu-Chek software.||Upload data to Diasend or Glooko.|
Able to do small bolus with bolus button or precise bolus with PDM.
Bolus using PDM.
|Basal||5 different basal rates.||12 different basal rates.|
|Blood glucose checking||Transmitter uses Avivia test strips.||Manual input data from blood glucose meter or CGM/flash glucose monitor|
|Dimensions||Approximately 63 x 39 x 14 mm (LxWxH)||52mm x 39mm x 14.5mm (LxWxH)|
|Weight||Less than 29g with a filled reservoir||26g|
If you are considering a pump
There are now five different insulin pump brands available in Australia. Each pump has different capabilities and suits different individuals.
When deciding on an insulin pump it is recommended you talk to your diabetes healthcare team and discuss what you would like from a pump and how a pump will fit into your lifestyle.
By Polly Antees APD CDE