The history of the insulin pump
Insulin pumps are slowly but surely replacing regular injections for many diabetes sufferers. Since they were introduced as a mainstream alternative to manual insulin injections, insulin pumps have taken the healthcare world by storm in a matter of a few years. But what exactly is the history of the insulin pump and why did it become so popular so fast?
Well, the first insulin pump was introduced in the early 60’s by a Los Angeles doctor by the name of Arnold Kadish. The first model was so big that it had to be worn on the back in a backpack fashion. The model underwent several clinical tests before it was considered a viable alternative to syringe injections, and in the early 80’s, it finally gained recognition as a potential replacement to regular insulin delivery for type 1 diabetes sufferers.
The first insulin pump to be manufactured was released in the late 70’s. It was known as the “big blue brick” because of its size and appearance. It sparked interest among healthcare professionals who saw it as a device that would render syringes obsolete for people who have daily insulin injection needs. While the technology was promising, the first commercial pump lacked the controls and interface to make it a safe alternative to manual injections. Dosage was inaccurate thus making the device more of a danger than a solution.
It’s only in the beginning of the 90’s that we will start to see more user friendly models that could be used by regular diabetes sufferers. The advances that were made in the healthcare device field and in electronics overall were of great benefit to insulin pump manufacturers who were able to make their models smaller and easier to use for patients.
Nowadays, insulin pumps have many features such as bolus calculators and compatibility with personal computers so that users can have greater control on their insulin intake and monitor their blood sugar levels more effectively. Future developments in insulin pump technology are quite promising. Medtronic is currently developing a model that will be surgically implanted inside the body and that will be controlled via RF.
While insulin pump technology will never cease to amaze us, even the most sophisticated piece of hardware will not be enough to deter the staunchest supporters of manual injections; and insulin pump manufacturers are doing their best to change their minds. But for a lot of people, insulin pumps are a great way to gain back some of their lost freedom…