An insulin pump is a medical device used for the administration of insulin in the treatment of diabetes mellitus. It delivers rapid- or short-acting insulin 24 hours a day through a catheter placed under the skin. Managing diabetes with insulin pumps rather than the old pin-prick test and insulin injection method has been considered the best. But they too have their set of downsides.
The pumps deliver a steady stream of insulin into the blood, which can bring on an hypoglycemic attack if it is not cut off as blood sugar levels drop. Doctors at Prince Margaret Hospital in Perth have developed a new pump that can cut off the supply of insulin about half an hour before a predicted hypoglycemic attack.
For the first time, an eight-year-old boy in Australia, Xavier Veivers-Brown, has been fitted with this new device at The Wesley Hospital in Brisbane.
The boy was having four or five hypoglycemic attacks a day. But, he has not had such emergency since this insulin pump was fitted last month. The symptoms of a hypoglycemic attack include weakness, sweating, light-headedness, headaches and dizziness. People with diabetes require regular monitoring of insulin levels in the blood to avoid medical complications.