Current goals of therapy of type 1 and 2 diabetes are to achieve near normal glycemia, minimize the risk of severe hypoglycemia, limit excessive weight gain, improve quality of life and delay or prevent late vascular complications. As discussed in this review, insulin pump or continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion (CSII) therapy provides a treatment option that can dramatically aid in achieving all of these goals. In comparison to multiple daily injections (MDI), CSII uses only rapid-acting insulin, provides greater flexibility in timing of meals and snacks, has programmable basal rates to optimize overnight glycemic control, can reduce the risk of exercise-induced hypoglycemia, and enhances patients' ability to control their own diabetes. Most important, in adults and adolescents with type 1 diabetes, CSII has been shown to lower HbA(1c) levels, reduce the frequency of severe hypoglycemia and limit excessive weight gain versus MDI without increasing the risk of diabetic ketoacidosis. Similarly positive results are being seen with CSII in adults with type 2 diabetes. The effectiveness of CSII and improvements in pump technology have fueled a dramatic increase in the use of this therapy. Practical guidelines are presented for selection of patients, initiation of treatment, patient education, follow-up assessments and troubleshooting. The recent introduction of methods for continuous glucose monitoring provides a new means to optimize the basal and bolus capabilities of CSII and offers the hope of the development of a feedback-controlled artificial pancreas.
Copyright 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.