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Int J Clin Pract Suppl. 2011 Feb;(170):16-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1742-1241.2010.02574.x.

Insulin pumps.

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King's College London School of Medicine, Guy's Hospital, London, UK.


The last year has seen a continued uptake of insulin pump therapy in most countries. The USA is still a leader in pump use, with probably some 40% of type 1 diabetic patients on continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion (CSII), but the large variation in usage within Europe remains, with relatively high use (> 15%) in, for example, Norway, Austria, Germany and Sweden and low use (< 5%) in Spain, the UK, Finland and Portugal. There is much speculation on the factors responsible for this variation, and the possibilities include physician attitudes to CSII and knowledge about its benefits and indications for its use (and inappropriate beliefs about dangers), the availability of reimbursement from insurance companies or funding from national health services, the availability of sufficient diabetes nurse educators and dietitians trained in pump procedures, and clear referral pathways for the pump candidate from general practitioner or general hospital to specialist pump centre. There are now several comprehensive national guidelines on CSII use (see ATTD Yearbook 2009) but more work needs to be done in unifying uptake and ensuring all those who can benefit do so. Technology developments recently include increasing use of pumps with continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) connectivity (see elsewhere in this volume) and the emergence of numerous manufacturers developing so-called 'patch pumps', often for the type 2 diabetes market. Interestingly, the evidence base for CSII in this group is not well established, and for this reason the selected papers on CSII in this section include several in this area. The use of CSII in diabetic pregnancy is a long-established practice, in spite of the lack of evidence that it is superior to multiple daily injections (MDI), and few randomised controlled trials have been done in recent years. Several papers in this field this year continue the debate about the usefulness of CSII in diabetic pregnancy and are reviewed here. It is pleasing to see more research on the psychosocial aspects of CSII during the year, both from the point of view of how psychological beliefs influence outcomes on CSII (is there a type of patient who does particularly well or poorly on CSII?) and how CSII affects psychological factors like mood, behaviour and quality of life. Quality of life is a difficult topic with doubts that the instruments always capture the aspects of quality of life important to the patient, and there have been conflicting results over the years about whether CSII alters quality of life. Patients in the clinic usually say that it does, and more evidence for quality of life improvement in pump therapy is reviewed here.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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