Infusion sets are the part of a diabetes pump that gets inserted into your body, which then delivers the insulin. Insulin pumps provide patients with the ability to monitor and adjust their insulin levels by using an easy-to-use handheld device. These small devices deliver insulin through a specific type of infusion set. As per the experts at Tandem Diabetes, “Finding the right infusion set is an important part of successful insulin pump therapy.” There are multiple types available for patients, so it’s important to know what each one does before making a choice:
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Rapid-acting infusion sets
Rapid-acting insulin can be used to cover meals and snacks. This means that the insulin is injected into the skin and placed in a reservoir on a pump or syringe. The rapid-acting insulin is then absorbed into the body at a faster rate than regular long-lasting insulin. It begins working within 15 minutes and lasts for 3 to 5 hours, depending on your meal plan and current blood glucose level.
Standard infusion sets
A standard infusion set is the most common type of infusion set. It’s made of clear plastic and has a needle on one end, which inserts into your skin to deliver insulin. The other end consists of a cannula that stays in your body for up to three days at a time. Standard infusion sets are compatible with virtually all insulin pumps, making them ideal if you’re switching between devices or want to use multiple types during an event or vacation (like camping).
The needle is placed under the skin—usually in the abdomen area—and held in place by adhesive strips until it’s time for removal. At this point, you’ll want to replace it with another standard infusion set so as not to risk infection from having two needles in your body simultaneously.
Serter-based devices are small infusion pumps that are worn on the body and deliver insulin through a tube. They are used by people who are not able to use an insulin pump or for those who need to take their insulin on a schedule.
The device is inserted under the skin, like an infusion set. However, it contains a reservoir that holds rapid-acting insulin and a pump mechanism that delivers this medication into the body at regular intervals throughout the day. The tubing is attached to your skin with adhesive strips or surgical tape, which can be applied by you or your healthcare team.
Manual insulin pump sets
A manual insulin pump set is a type of infusion set that can be used with any type of insulin pump. It’s a small device you wear on your body, and it automatically delivers insulin throughout the day.
The two main types of manual pumps are disposable and reusable. Disposable manual pumps are worn for one day before being discarded, while reusable ones are cleaned after each use and then reused for several days or weeks at a time.
The best infusion set is the one that works well with your pump. This means looking at how easy it is to use, how well it fits and stays in place, and whether it causes skin irritation. Different infusion sets are better for different people depending on their lifestyles and preferences.