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Insulin Pump Failure Tips

Pumps can fail, and not always during office hours. Do you have a plan in place?  Remember when your pump fails, you will need to take your insulin in a different way.  Here are a few tips:

Write down your settings

Keep your pump settings written down somewhere.  At each visit, write down any changes to your settings.  If you upload, you can find your settings in your account; it is still helpful to write them down.

What you need to know:

  • Basal: rates, times, max basal rate, type of temp basal
  • Bolus: carb ratios and times, sensitivity (correction) factor and times, target BG and times, insulin on board (active insulin) time, max bolus
  • Alarms: type of alarm, low reservoir volume, hours to pod expire (if using Omnipod), auto-off (hours if you use)
  • Sensor: transmitter ID, high alarm, low alarm, high snooze time and low snooze time, low threshold suspend value (if available)

Know the pump company's phone number

Call them right away when your pump fails.  They can usually ship you a new pump within 24-48 hours.

Know your dose of long acting insulin to take when your pump fails

  • This is usually Lantus, Levemir, or NPH.
  • You may also use Tresiba or Toujeo but these are more complicated when it is time to re-start your pump. 
  • Either have a vial/pen on hand or have a prescription for this. Ask your provider for this if you do not have. 
  • Remember, you will need either syringes or pen needles as well.  At every visit, confirm your dose of long acting insulin.

 You will need to take injections until your new pump arrives

Continue to take injections until your new pump arrives. 

  • Before meals, use your carb ratios and correction factor to cover your food intake and your blood glucose, if elevated.
  • You will need to replace your pump basal with long acting insulin. 
  • If you are taking Lantus or Levemir, take the dose right away.
  • Remember, you cannot start your new pump until 24 hours after your last dose of the above.
  • If you are taking Tresiba or Toujeo, contact our office to discuss when you can re-start your insulin pump.  
  • If you are on NPH, take it at bedtime and re-start your pump when you get it. 

Let us know

Check in with our office to let us know your pump has failed, what your plan is, and for any questions you may have. If you need help with programming the pump, you must schedule an appointment with an educator.

When the new pump arrives

  • Program the new pump with your old settings.  If you have them written down, the pump company can assist you with programming the new pump.
  • Remember, you cannot start on the new pump until about 24 hours after the last Lantus or Levemir dose. For Tresiba or Toujeo, you may have to wait longer before re-starting your basal pump.