Research Article

Patient reactions to long-term outpatient treatment with continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1981; 282 doi: (Published 07 March 1981) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1981;282:766
  1. J C Pickup,
  2. H Keen,
  3. G C Viberti,
  4. R W Bilous


    Fourteen of the first 15 insulin-dependent diabetics to be treated in our unit by three weeks or more of outpatient continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion with a portable syringe pump completed a questionnaire about their reactions to the system. Motivation was more important to a favourable response than occupation or intelligence. Most patients thought that diabetic control was better with the pump than conventional injection treatment and several felt subjectively better. Features such as the greater flexibility of diet and insulin delivery rates during continuous subcutaneous infusion were appreciated. The most consistent adverse criticism was about the size of the device used, nearly all patients thinking that smaller and lighter infusion systems should be developed. Psychological reactions to the infusion and difficulties with interpersonal relationships were identified; these must be clearly appreciated and discussed with patients and family before and during treatment. Nine of the 14 patients said they would undertake continuous subcutaneous infusion for one year and a further two said they would do so if the infuser was smaller. These results provide guidance on future technological development of continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion and indicate that the major constraint to long-term trials of the present system is the size of the pump.