Insulin pumps

Some hospitals may have very little experience with insulin pumps, so they may not be confident using them. However, an inpatient diabetes team is usually on hand to provide assistance to ward staff in managing your diabetes whilst you are in the hospital.

Take a look at some of the main factors you may need to consider if you use an insulin pump and you’re admitted to the hospital:

DKA

If you have DKA, you will require intravenous insulin. DKA cannot be managed using an insulin pump and it is possible that the hospital staff may temporarily disconnect your pump so that they know exactly how much insulin you are getting through the drips.

Equipment

Make sure you take plenty of pump equipment with you if you are staying in the hospital. You may need to do set changes depending on how long you are in for and wards do not always have the equipment required for your insulin pump readily available.

Scans and operations

Certain scans such as MRI require you to remove your pump. If you are having a major operation, you will also need to remove your pump and switch to intravenous insulin. For more minor, shorter operations you may be able to remain connected to your pump and keep the insulin basal rate running. Ultimately, the anaesthetist is responsible for you and your glucose levels during a procedure – talk to them beforehand so you can plan your diabetes management and discuss staying connected to your pump.

You can refer your surgeon and anaesthetist to this guide from the British Journal of Anaesthesia for guidelines on how to manage an insulin pump around the time of an operation.

Back-up pens

If you are unable to manage your pump yourself then it needs to be removed and kept in a safe place. Insulin injections can be used instead to manage your diabetes. Always have backup insulin pens just in case there is a problem with your pump while you are in the hospital.


Click ‘coming into the hospital’ to return to the topic main page, or choose another section to explore.

2 thoughts on “Insulin pumps”

Leave a Reply

Scroll to Top