Continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion in Type 1 diabetes: patient experiences of ‘living with a machine’


Professor L. Todres, Professor of Qualitative Research School of Health and Social Care Bournemouth University 1st Floor Royal London House Bournemouth BH1 3LT. E-mail:


Diabet. Med. 27, 1201–1204 (2010)


Aims  The aims of this study were to provide in-depth insight into the changes that may be experienced by patients embarking on continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion and to answer the research question, what is it like to live with an insulin pump?

Methods  An in-depth, qualitative, multiple interview study of individuals with Type 1 diabetes using continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion in a secondary care setting in the south of England. Four patients (two male, two female) across the age range and with varied experience of pump use, were recruited from a specialist diabetes centre.

Results  Switching from multiple injection therapy to insulin pump therapy presents challenges in the short term. Over a longer period, use of this technology is associated with a significant improvement in quality of life for the users and also a change in the relationship between the patient and their specialist healthcare provider.

Conclusions  Insulin pump therapy has additional qualitative benefits beyond improvements in glycaemic control and reducing the risk of hypoglycaemia for people with Type 1 diabetes.