Acta Diabetologica

, Volume 53, Issue 6, pp 991–998 | Cite as

Insulin pump-associated adverse events are common, but not associated with glycemic control, socio-economic status, or pump/infusion set type

  • P Ross
  • AR Gray
  • J Milburn
  • IM Kumarasamy
  • F Wu
  • S Farrand
  • J Armishaw
  • E Wiltshire
  • J Rayns
  • P Tomlinson
  • BJ WheelerEmail author
Original Article



While there have been many outcome-focussed studies examining insulin pump therapy, only a few have looked at potential adverse events (AEs), with none examining the relationship between AEs and pump/infusion set type, ethnicity or socio-economic status. In addition, current data on the incidence and characteristics of pump-associated AEs are confined to one paediatric centre. We aimed to describe the incidence, characteristics and potential predictors of insulin pump-associated AEs in New Zealand adults and children with T1DM.


We approached adults and families of children with T1DM on insulin pumps in four main New Zealand centres. Participants completed a questionnaire examining pump-related issues they had experienced in the preceding 12 months.


Response rate was 64 % with 174 of 270 eligible people participating in the study. 84 % of subjects reported one or more AEs, with an overall AE incidence of 3.42 per person/year (95 % CI 3.14, 3.73). An event serious enough to require a hospital presentation occurred in 9.8 %, all but one reporting high ketones or diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). Set/site problems were the AE most commonly reported (by 53 % of respondents), followed by cutaneous complications (43 %) and pump malfunction (38 %). Few predictors of AEs (of any type) were found; however, a negative binomial regression model found that a longer duration of pumping (p = 0.018) and age <18 years (p = 0.043) were both associated with fewer AEs (all types combined).


Insulin pump-associated AEs are very common. However, few variables are predictive of them with no relationships seen with glycaemic control, socio-economic status, pump manufacturer or infusion set type. Based on these findings, AEs should be anticipated in both adults and children, with anticipatory patient education and training recommended for their successful and safe use.


Insulin pump CSII Adverse event Malfunction Safety 



The authors wish to thank all the individuals and families involved in the study, and all the staff from the collaborating diabetes centres for their time and assistance with this study. The Otago Medical Research Foundation and the University of Otago provided financial support for this project.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical standard

Ethical approval for this study was granted by the University of Otago Human Ethics Committee (H14/089).

Human and animal rights

All procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2008.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all patients for being included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • P Ross
    • 1
  • AR Gray
    • 2
  • J Milburn
    • 3
  • IM Kumarasamy
    • 4
  • F Wu
    • 4
  • S Farrand
    • 5
  • J Armishaw
    • 6
  • E Wiltshire
    • 7
  • J Rayns
    • 3
    • 5
  • P Tomlinson
    • 1
  • BJ Wheeler
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Women’s and Children’s HealthUniversity of OtagoDunedinNew Zealand
  2. 2.Department of Preventive and Social MedicineUniversity of OtagoDunedinNew Zealand
  3. 3.Paediatric EndocrinologySouthern District Health BoardDunedinNew Zealand
  4. 4.Diabetes CentreAuckland District Health BoardAucklandNew Zealand
  5. 5.Department of EndocrinologySouthern District Health BoardDunedinNew Zealand
  6. 6.Department of PaediatricsTauranga Public HospitalTaurangaNew Zealand
  7. 7.Department of Children’s HealthUniversity of OtagoWellingtonNew Zealand

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