Pump choice & user reviews

INPUT’s views on pump choice

As a group of pump users and their families, INPUT firmly believes that the choice of pump should be made after discussions between the patient/carer and their diabetes care team. In our experience, the best clinics tend to offer a choice of pumps. Pumps are attached to us and we interact with them several times a day, so it is important that we fully accept and choose to engage with the one we have. However, some clinics do not yet offer a choice. Choice tends not be offered for one of two main reasons: clinic staff have not yet been trained on other makes of pump or the hospital (‘acute care trust’) has an exclusive contract with one pump supplier.

While a choice of pumps is ideal from our perspective, it remains the case that ANY pump is better than NO pump: all current pumps offer a variety of programmable basal rates, a tool to help you determine how much insulin to bolus and a degree of water resistance. There is no clinical evidence that one make of pump necessarily leads to better diabetes control compared to another. However, if you would have difficulty seeing the screen or refilling the make of pump offered by your clinic, a choice of pump could be considered a clinical need. If your clinic doesn’t offer the make of pump you prefer, you can choose your battle (as they say). Read more about making a case for choice.

Whilst we do not support clinics or CCGs restricting choice, we would like to provide some thoughts on points we often hear from people who want a pump other than what’s on offer. Read on for short reviews submitted by pump users (and a form to submit your own review if you currently use a pump).

‘I want a waterproof pump because I like to swim.’ All pumps are splashproof and you can buy waterproof cases. Many people remove their pump for swimming or watersports (activity usually means you need less insulin anyway) and re-attach every hour or so for a quick top-up of the missed basal insulin.

‘I want a pump without tubing because I don’t want people to see it.’ Some people consider that a pump with tubing actually offers greater choice of where to wear your pump discreetly. The profile of the infusion set left behind after you disconnect a pump with tubing is much smaller than the profile of a tube-free pump that contains your insulin and which must remain in place for the full 3 days.

‘I don’t like the idea of being attached so I want a pump without tubing.’ Many of us who have a pump with tubing felt the same way at one time. Just like specs, contact lenses, a wedding ring or a wristwatch, a pump with tubing can take some getting used to but many people would agree that they feel wrong without their pump on after getting used to it.

‘I want a pump with CGM.’ Some people consider it better to have a stand-alone receiver for their CGM so that they can check the readings without having to get their pump out from their clothing. With a stand-alone CGM, parents can keep an eye on their children’s readings without having to fish the pump out of bedding or stop the child playing.

‘I want an integrated pump handset and glucose monitor.’ Some people stay motivated by getting a new blood glucose meter from time to time. If you have an integrated pump handset & meter, you will not have this option unless/until the manufacturer of your system releases an upgrade you can access under the terms of your pump warranty.

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Pump user reviews

Amy Winchcombe, 12, uses an Animas Vibe
Dad says:
Positives: Waterproof – cannot stress how good this is; integrates well with Dexcom G4 CGM (best CGM available); it’s pink and with it’s colour screen it looks cool, so Amy is proud to show it off.
Negatives: Doesn’t show split between carb bolus and correction bolus amounts in history. Bit of a pain if you forget and don’t write it in the book; doesn’t do multiple combo-boluses at the same time. Yesterday Amy ate popcorn at the cinema and put a combo bolus on, later she wanted to have chocolate but couldn’t put another combo bolus on whilst current one was active so she had to do a normal bolus; seriously, nothing, apart from the name, that’s just so wrong.
Would you prefer a different pump or brand? No

Melissa Holloway, 30’s, uses an Animas Vibe
Using a pump for 17 years
Has used other brands
Positives: CGM integration, waterproof, bright screen
Negatives: No remote, no linked meter
Would you prefer a different pump or brand? No, though if I could add a linked meter with the ability to bolus from the meter, I would!

Alice, 37, uses an Animas Vibe
Using a pump for 4 years
Has not used any other brands
Positives: very clear display, not prone to air bubble issues, CGM option for Dexcom
Negatives: sometimes wish it had a remote
Would you prefer a different pump or brand? No

Karen, 51, uses an Animas Vibe
Using a pump for 5 years
Has used other brands
Positives: bright screen, sturdy, waterproof
Negatives: no average results unless hooked up to computer, multiple button presses to achieve same functions as Veo, complex user interface
Would you prefer a different pump or brand? Yes

Sandie, 32 uses a Cellnovo
Using a pump for 5 years
Has used other brands
Positives: small and weightless feel so it doesn’t pull my clothes, activity monitor built in – helps me define basal reductions post exercise periods, diary for food and boluses etc all goes online with no effort from me which is great because i’m appalling at documentation
Negatives: having to charge the handset daily, I’m sensitive to the adhesive so have to use cavilon and tegaderm
Would you prefer a different pump or brand? No

Col55, 47, uses a Dana R
Using a pump for 4 years
Has not used any other brands
Positives: easy to use, bolus calculator, has 4 basal profiles
Negatives: remote does not always connect, battery indicator is not always right, sometimes doesn’t deliver bolus
Would you prefer a different pump or brand? Yes

Elle, 4, uses an Insulet OmniPod
Dad says:
Positives: no tubing, discreet, easy to use with handset
Negatives: DSN doesn’t know enough about it
Would you prefer a different pump or brand? No

Shaun, 5, uses an Insulet OmniPod
Using a pump for 14 months
Has not used any other brands
Mum says:
Positives: no tubes, very easy to use, can wear it in the bath or swimming.
Negatives: if pod gets bumped insulin delivery stops & a new pod is needed, can be bumped when playing on slides/trampolines or play fighting.
Would you prefer a different pump or brand? No

K, 8, used an Insulet OmniPod
Using a pump for 6 years
Has used other brands
Mum says:
Positives: no tubing that’s all
Negatives: itchy plasters, blood sugars all over the place
Would you prefer a different pump or brand? Yes – have changed to Roche Accu-Chek Insight

Helena, 24, uses an Insulet OmniPod
Using a pump for 4 months
Has not used any other brands
Positives: waterproof (I swim a lot), discreet under clothing, you forget it is there
Negatives: hard to tell if the cannula kinks when you insert it
Would you prefer a different pump or brand? No

Michelle, 24 uses an Insulet OmniPod
Using a pump for 10 years
Has used other brands
Positives: no tubing – clipping tubed pumps onto clothes often ruined clothes, delivers insulin bolus at the right rate – my Roche pump delivered insulin too fast so it leaked at the site, do not need to remove the pod for sunbathing, swimming etc
Negatives: can’t do a quick bolus, if you loose your pdm you’re stuck and need to revert to injections
Would you prefer a different pump or brand? No

Rachie, 28, uses an Insulet OmniPod
Using a pump for 4 months
Has not used any other brands
Positives: discreet, easy to use and tubing free
Negatives: nothing at the moment
Would you prefer a different pump or brand? No

Lewis, 9, uses a Medtronic Paradigm Veo
Positives: CGM compatible, 0.025 unit basal increments, bolus wizard function
Negatives: Not waterproof
Would you prefer a different pump or brand? The only way to improve this pump is for it to be waterproof, instead of splash proof.

Emma, 9, uses a Medronic Paradigm Veo
Using a pump for nearly two and a half years
Has not used any other brands
Mum says:
Positives: the purple colour, easy for Emma to use, does all the working out for you
Negatives: menu is a bit irritating to navigate
Would you prefer a different pump or brand? No

Sophie, 11, uses a Medtronic Paradigm Veo
Using a pump for 4 years
Has not used any other brands
Positives: auto-suspend when low if used with CGM, small increments for fine tuning, good customer service including holiday loaner
Negatives: backlight is difficult to use, need to override the correction calculator if you forget to put a high BG level in before you deliver a meal bolus, too easy to suspend by mistake
Would you prefer a different pump or brand? Yes, just about to get an OmniPod

Anna Presswell, 30, uses a Medtronic Paradigm Veo
Positives: Very easy to use, comes in funky colours, low suspend if using Medtronic CGM
Negatives: not waterproof, alarms not very audible
Would you prefer a different pump or brand? Yes, but really only due to waterproof function

Paul, 42, uses a Medtronic Paradigm Veo
Using a pump for 8 years
Has not used any other brands
Positives: linked BG meter, uses AAA batteries which I can get just about anywhere, discrete
Negatives: not waterproof, have and several pump failures over the years – Medtronic have replaced with no quibbles but I think build quality could be improved, Enlite CGM system did not suit me so had to opt for DEXCOM
Would you prefer a different pump or brand? Yes, Animas Vibe or OmniPod

Mike (everydayupsanddowns), 44, uses a Medtronic Paradigm Veo
Using a pump for 2 years
Has not used any other brands
Positives: very flexible basal patterns (I think you can set up to 48 different rates over a 24 hour period!) with a choice of 3 different patterns, bluetooth-linked Contour Next Link meter automatically sends BGs to the pump for bolus calculation, CGM enabled with ‘low glucose suspend’
Negatives: temporary basal rates chime every hour day and night with the same warning tone used for more serious alerts (eg low battery), selecting a different basal pattern activates the warning circle on the screen making it look like there is an ‘alert state’ when actually it might just be the weekend, I really can’t think of a third!
Would you prefer a different pump or brand? Not sure… Ask me in a couple of years!

David, 46, uses a Medtronic Paradigm Veo
Using a pump for 3 years
Has used other brands
Positives: intuitive priming system and reservoir loading, only takes a couple of key presses to give combo bolus, can read it in bright sunlight
Negatives: nothing that I can think of
Would you prefer a different pump or brand? No

Carmel, 58, uses a Medtronic Paradigm Veo
Using a pump for 14 years
Has used other brands
Positives: Medtronic are really helpful, always at the end of the phone and can sort problems by phone if possible, the pump now integrates with a brighter smaller meter and I like the CGMS as all the feedback is on the pump
Negatives: not waterproof, screen could be brighter and easier to read
Would you prefer a different pump or brand? No

Alexander, 6, uses a Medtronic 640G
Using a pump for 4 years
Has not used any other brands
Mum says:
Positives: Smartguard (predictive low glucose suspend); colour screen, ease of use
Negatives: no remote bolus wizard (you can remote bolus fixed amounts though), after 6 days you have to disconnect and reconnect the sensor to get further days out of it
Would you prefer a different pump or brand? No

Emma, 11, uses a Medtronic 640G
Using a pump for 4 months
Has not used any other brands
Mum says:
Positives: predictive low suspend feature, easy to use menu, instinctive to use – the way it works makes sense
Negatives: looks a little plastic, no handset
Would you prefer a different pump or brand? No

Lewis, 11, uses a Medtronic 640G
Using a pump for 5 years
Has used other brands
Mum says:
Positives: waterproof, louder alarms, colour light reactive screen
Negatives: CGM system not as reliable as Veo system for some users, low battery warning to pump shutdown too short – approx 3hrs!, bulkier than Veo
Would you prefer a different pump or brand? Yes

Jess, 15, uses a Medtronic 640G
Using a pump for 8 years
Has not used any other brands
Mum says:
Positives: home screen has all the info you need on it including the CGM graph and temp basals, integrated/linked CGM, waterproof
Negatives: not making a fully working handset only a linked meter with a set bolus from it, a bit fatter than the Veo
Would you prefer a different pump or brand? No

Sam, 21, uses a Medtronic 640G
Using a pump for 14 years
Has not used any other brands
Positives: ability to set multiple basal patterns, pump clip doubles up as battery cap remover, summary information for last 1, 7, 14 & 30 days as well as more detailed daily information
Negatives: no ability to use bolus wizard from the paired BG meter
Would you prefer a different pump or brand? No

Angela, 55, uses a Medtronic 640G
Using a pump for 13 years
Has not used any other brands
Positives: it predicts hypos when used with CGMS, easy to use, large colour screen
Negatives: pump has to be in close proximity to sensor
Would you prefer a different pump or brand? No

Mary, 66, uses a Medtronic 640G
Using a pump for 8 years
Has used other brands
Positives: CGM link, colour screen, insulin dose adjustments of 0.025 units – basal and bolus
Negatives: short battery life, size – its a bit big but I was too impatient for the smaller one to come out
Would you prefer a different pump or brand? No

Philippa, over 21, uses a Roche Accu-Chek Combo
Using a pump for a month
Has not used any other brands
Positives: It can be operated remotely so don’t have to retrieve to bolus etc, size of reservoir, easy to use
Negatives: No battery level indicator on pump or handset, clip is not low profile, not waterproof
Would you prefer a different pump or brand? No I like the having a remote!

Laura, 35, uses a Roche Accu-Chek Combo
Using a pump for 3 years
Has not used any other brands
Positives: the remote control, the bolus calculator
Negatives: difficult to hide under clothing, basal rate increments aren’t small enough
Would you prefer a different pump or brand? No

Lesley J, 40’s, uses a Roche Accu-Chek Combo
Using a pump for just under 11 years
Has not really used other brands since her first brand was bought out by her current brand
Positives: the handset lets me tuck my pump away discretely and operate it fully without having to take it out; integrated handset & blood glucose meter is great for bolus advice; it gives me a fraction of my basal every 3 minutes no matter what rate I’m on;
Negatives: the handset is ugly
Would you prefer a different pump or brand? No

Ruth, 50’s, uses a Roche Accu-Chek Combo
Using a pump for 2 and a half years
Has used other brands.
Positives: can be tucked away under clothing; ability to use the remote control for everything means it can stay tucked out of the way – good for infection control in an NHS environment.
Negatives: colour – it’s just black and a very masculine look; pump could do with a colour display like the meter; chunky.
Would you prefer a different pump or brand? No

Gail, 54, uses a Roche Accu-Chek Combo
Using a pump for 5 years.
Has used other brands.
Positives: remote control means pump can be discretely and securely attached in the morning and left all day, bolus advice, access to bolus/temp basal/alarm etc records.
Negatives: not able to link to CGM, not waterproof, screen is small and not very clear.
Would you prefer a different pump or brand? No

Sandra Tweddell, 60’s, uses a Roche Accu-Chek Combo
Using a pump for 13 years.
Has used other brands.
Positives: use of pump from handset; tiny boluses; number of profiles
Negatives: not compatible with Apple computers; handset is large; standard case has no compartments for used BG strips or to hold replacement barrels for the finger pricker.
Would you prefer a different pump or brand? I wish there was one compatible with Apple

Oliver, 9, uses a Roche Accu-Chek Insight
Using a pump for 2 months
Has not used any other brands
Mum says:
Positives: handset is brilliant, so too are the pre-filled cartridges and how small/light it is
Negatives: handset is very slow, the belt clips are bit flimsy and we are on our 3rd already
Would you prefer a different pump or brand? No

Rebecca, 26, uses a Roche Accu-Chek Insight
Using a pump for 4 years
Has not used any other brands
Positives: pre filled cartridges; line attached to case of pump; colour screen on pump
Negatives: unreliable; slow & unresponsive; lack of progress from Accu-Chek Combo
Would you prefer a different pump or brand? Yes, Medtronic 640G

Hermione, 31, uses a Roche Accu-Chek Insight
Using a pump for 10 years
Has used other brands
Positives: remote control from handset; totally waterproof – I went swimming in it yesterday; pre-filled insulin cartridges are bubble free and very easy
Negatives: the handset is painfully slow and unintuitively designed; you have to re-charge the handset every three days or so; it doesn’t store any record of when you last changed cannula, tubing or insulin cartridge and keeping track of it is a nightmare
Would you prefer a different pump or brand? Yes, I’m looking at moving to the OmniPod (although none seem perfect..)

Philippa, ‘adult’, uses a Roche Accu-Chek Insight
Using a pump for 2 years
Has not used other brands
Positives: smooth edges & no sticky out bits so easy to hide, can run more than one multiwave/extended bolus simultaneously, has a full remote (any remote is better than none! – see negatives below!)
Negatives: the attached meter/remote is so slow & has unnecessary steps to bolus, limited cannula choice & inserter – already on 3rd inserter plus new Insight sets failing on day 2, Roche customer service – I have had a number of issues (on 2nd pump in 4 months & had handset/meter just die). If speak to out of hours in US still need to speak to UK to progress problem. No replacements can be sent over a weekend meaning replacement pump delivered by “”next day delivery”” 2 days later. According to Roche any problems with Insight are due to user error (untrue) & they seem unwilling to investigate.
Would you prefer a different pump or brand? if they could sort out all the problems, especially the handset, this would be a great pump.

Susie, ‘senior’, uses a Roche Accu-Chek Insight
Using a pump for 8 months
Has not used any other brands
Positives: pre-filled cartridges, which are a blessing to change, just press one button and away it goes, one more button fills the tubing, the last button fills the cannula; no air bubbles (means better BG results); you can multi-wave, extend, and normal bolus and it will deliver stacked up.
Negatives: a little slower to calculate a bolus, but only a few seconds.
Would you prefer a different pump or brand? No

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