All pumps have what are called Insulin Pump Infusion Sets, except the OmniPod. An infusion set brings the insulin from your pump into your body. The set consists of a thin plastic tube, a connective devise (almost like an industrial strength band-aid) on your skin, and a small needle like device that extends under your skin (called a cannula).
Infusion sets are typically changed every three days. Some insulin pumps use a standard luer-lock connection. Thus, you can use the manufacturer’s infusion set or any set made by a third party (often less expensive).
Other pumps have non-standard or proprietary infusion sets, which require you to purchase the company brand. The MiniMed Paradigm has a proprietary set, but you can get an adapter from the company that will then allow you to use a luer-lock.
While infusion sets are fairly straight forward, you will want to give special consideration to the cannula or device that actually will be inserted into your body to deliver the insulin. Most cannula’s are made of flexible plastic or steel (essentially a small needle).
Steel cannulas are rare, but some people do use them. Other cannula characteristics include the length, angle of insertion and overall size (guage). The level of activity (very active) and the person’s physical characteristic will dictate what is appropriate.
For example, a thin active person will have a smaller length than a person with a lot of excess fat. Needle Shy? If you are really needle shy, you may also want to consider an infusion set that has a device that inserts the cannula with the press of a button, rather than one that requires you to manually insert it.
Also, disconnecting the tubing is important. If you play rugby (rough sport), swim, or even when you bathe, you may need to take off your insulin pump. The ease of connecting and disconnecting the tubing will be important.
Some infusion sets disconnect right at the cannula. Sometimes this is difficult for people with poor finger dexterity or poor vision, as they have a difficult time seeing the connection.
Instead, you can get infusion sets that allow you to disconnect several inches away from the cannula, thus there is a few inches of tubing that remains attached to the device.
COST AND OPTIONS
The most obvious consideration is the length of tubing. If you are 6 foot, 5 inches, you will need a longer piece of tubing that if you are 5 foot, 2 inches.
Buying an insulin pump is not inexpensive and neither is running one on a day to day basis. Each infusion set costs anywhere from $10 per set up to $20 or more. Sometimes you can get better deals if you buy in bulk.
If insurance is not paying for your sets, you will want to study the pricing closely to make sure you do not buy a pump that has super expensive infusion sets.