Insulin injection port: a puncture every three days instead of multiple punctures per day
Insulin injection ports are an excellent alternative to multiple daily insulin injections, as it only requires one skin puncture every three days. This valuable tool allows for better blood sugar control, by significantly decreasing the pain and anxiety produced by these injections, especially in children and adolescents.
By Joe Cardozo
A daily therapy of multiple insulin injections, is a vital element for treating Type 1 Diabetes, and insulin prescriptions are currently becoming an important additional treatment method for people with Type 2 Diabetes. However, a recent study conducted by the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE), showed that 57% of participants with Type 1 Diabetes acknowledged that they occasionally omitted their insulin injections due to the pain and discomfort these produce and 47% said they’d be willing to take insulin regularly, if there was an alternative insulin delivery method.
What is an injection port and how does it work?
An injection port is a medical device similar to an insulin pump infusion set, but without the tubular system. The injection port is used for insulin administration and unlike insulin pumps, it requires the use of insulin injectors or pens. The injection port is inserted by the patient through a needle into the subcutaneous tissue of the skin, allowing for multiple daily insulin dose administrations without the need for additional punctures, for a 3-day period. This is because the insulin injector or pen is inserted into the device and not into the skin, i.e. the insulin injector or pen always remains above the skin. This device is disposable, can remain within the skin for a 3-day period and should be replaced by a new one whenever the device is changed.
Insulin is administered by introducing the insulin injector or pen in the protective membrane located at the top of the device.
This device is especially designed for children and even babies. This option is a high value alternative and significantly improves insulin therapy, allowing for a significant improvement in blood sugar and Hemoglobin A1c levels. This device is ideal for those who’ve been newly diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, because of the great anxiety and fear the knowledge of having to inject several times a day causes them.
Insertion sites of injection ports
The most common insertion sites for these devices are in the abdomen, but it can also be inserted in the thighs and forearms, as shown in the illustration.
It is important to follow these recommendations when inserting the injection port:
- Avoid inserting it into the skin folds or in any areas where there’s a cloth line
- The device has to be rotated at the insertion site regularly to avoid skin problems
- Observe the insertion site, and make sure there’s no skin redness, swelling, bleeding or insertion difficulties
Advantages and disadvantages of using an insulin port
Among the benefits of using this device, we can mention:
- It allows for multiple insulin injections without any additional punctures for a period of up to 3 days
- It decreases the fear, pain and discomfort associated with multiple injections
- It doesn’t interfere with glycemic control in comparison to traditional therapy with insulin injectors
- It reduces pain thanks to the insertion needle design and insertion inclination
- It is comfortable, flexible and easy to use, allowing for daily activities and improving the quality of life of the person with Diabetes
- It is discreet and practical and can even be placed underneath one’s underwear
- It helps improve glycemic and Hemoglobin A1c control in patients with type 1 Diabetes, as it facilitates daily therapy of multiple insulin injections
Among the disadvantages this device could have, we can mention:
- It represents an additional expense to that of the injectors and insulin and has to be replaced by a new one every three days
- The cost of injection portals isn’t covered by health insurance
There are several types of injection ports and the best known ones are Insuflon® and I-Port®. The Insuflon® injection port requires the patient to insert the needle device manually at 20-45º angle, while the I-Port® has an automatic inserter, which eliminates the need for the patient to manually insert the needle and also the needle and cannula penetrate the subcutaneous tissue at a 90° angle.
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