INSULIN PUMP technology Insulin Therapy

Man kneels by dog while holding his insulin pump kit.

What is insulin pump technology?

An insulin pump is a small device that mimics some of the ways a healthy pancreas works. It delivers continuous and customized doses of rapid-acting insulin 24 hours a day to match your body's needs. The pump provides insulin to your body in two ways:

  1. Basal Rate: Small amounts of insulin are released continuously throughout the day to mimic the background insulin production of the pancreas

  2. Bolus Rate: Additional insulin is delivered on demand to match the food you are going to eat or to correct high blood sugar. 

How a pump works graphic


1. Insulin Pump

An insulin pump is a small, durable electronic device used to program your insulin and display how you are tracking. The device also includes a reservoir compartment.

2. Infusion Set

An infusion set includes a thin cannula that goes from the reservoir to the infusion site on your body. The cannula is inserted into the site, similar to where you would give insulin injections. The infusion set should be changed every two to three days.

3. Reservoir

A reservoir is a plastic cartridge that holds the insulin and is locked into the insulin pump. A reservoir can hold up to 300 units of insulin and should be changed every two to three days.

Closeup of man's insulin pump with each component annotated with a number.


You can further improve control by using some additional components:

  • Blood Glucose Meter: A device that wirelessly transmits your blood glucose readings to your pump.
  • Continuous Glucose Monitoring: A transmitter and sensor that wirelessly transmit your glucose readings to your pump, giving you early warnings of highs and lows, lowering HbA1c levels1 and reducing the time of hypos.2
  • CareLink® Personal: An online tool allowing you to track your insulin usage and its levels during your daily activities.
  • Infusion Set Insertion Device


Insulin pump technology offers numerous clinical benefits over multiple daily injection therapy.

Children and adolescents using MiniMed insulin pumps were four times4 more likely to reach their target A1C.  A Medtronic pump and sensor system can also reduce low glucose episodes by up to 84% and lower the risk of long-term complications.5,6

  • 90% fewer injections*
  • Eye damage reduced up to 53%6
  • Lower HbA1c7,8
  • Fewer hypoglycemic events8
  • Greater flexibility in when to eat and how to exercise


Many people with insulin-dependent diabetes may benefit from an insulin pump but aren't aware of the benefits. In general, you may be able to get better control with an insulin pump if you experience any of the following:

  • You are newly diagnosed.
  • You have difficulty managing highs and lows.
  • You fear hypoglycemia, especially at night.
  • Your HbA1c is outside the target range.
  • You have reduced hypoglycemia awareness.
  • You are looking for  more freedom and flexibility.

Pump technology is not recommended for people: 

  • Who are unwilling or unable to perform a minimum of four blood glucose tests per day
  • Who are unwilling or unable to maintain contact with their healthcare professional
  • Whose vision or hearing does not allow recognition of pump signals and alarms



Learn more about insulin pump products and accessories from Medtronic.

Portrait of woman smiling outside while wearing an insulin pump.


Find real stories from people like you who have been diagnosed with diabetes.


Assumes four injections per day for 30 days and one infusion set change every three days.


Kaufman FR, et al. A pilot study of continuous glucose monitoring system. Diab Care. 2001:24:2030-2034


User Evaluations. Data on File, Medtronic MiniMed, Inc., Northridge, CA.


Battelino T, Conget I, Olsen B, et al. The use and efficacy of continuous glucose monitoring in Type 1 diabetes treated with insulin pump therapy: a randomized controlled trial. Diabetologia. 2012;55:3155–3162.


Doyle EA, Weinzimer SA, Steffen AT, Ahern JAH, Vincent M, Tamborlane WV. A randomized prospective trial comparing the efficacy of insulin pump therapy with multiple daily injections using insulin glargine. Diabetes Care. 2004;27(7):1554–1558.


Bode BW, Steed RD, Davidson PC. Reduction in severe hypoglycaemia with long-term continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion in Type 1 diabetes. Diabetes Care. 1996;19:324–327.


The Diabetes Control and Complications Trial Research Group. The effect of intensive treatment of diabetes on the development and progression of long-term complications in insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. N Engl J Med. 1993;329:977–986.


J. C. Pickup and A. J. Sutton Severe hypoglycaemia and glycaemic control in Insulin Dependent Diabetes: meta-analysis of multiple daily insulin injections compared with continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion Diabetic Medicine 2008 :25, 765–774.


Bergenstal RM, Tamborlane WV, Ahmann A, Buse JB, Dailey G, Davis SN, Joyce C, Perkins BA, Welsh JB, Willi SM, Wood MA; STAR 3 Study Group. Sensor-augmented pump therapy for A1C reduction (STAR 3) study: results from the 6-month continuation phase. Diabetes Care. 2011 Nov;34(11):2403-5. doi: 10.2337/dc11-1248. Epub 2011 Sep 20.

Information on this site should not be used as a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.