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The History of Insulin Pumps - We have come so far

Those of us who were diagnosed in the era of advanced diabetes tech do not fully understand how lucky we are. We have touch screen insulin pumps, smaller than a cell phone, that have algorithms to help keep our blood sugar in range. Our CGM devices are so small they are barely noticed. We are like little walking computers... under cover. But, did you know that the first insulin pump was known as the "blue brick" because it was so large? Below is a timeline of the history of the modern day insulin pump. 

1922 - The discovery of insulin

1923 - Insulin delivered to the first human, saving his life

1924 - The first specialized insulin syringe

1954 - Disposable insulin syringe is created

1963 - The first prototype for the insulin pump, which was carried like a backpack, is designed by Dr. Arnold Kadish

1974 - "Biostator," an insulin pump with intravenous continuous glucose monitoring and closed loop intravenous insulin delivery was developed

1976 - The first wearable insulin pump is developed and coined "the blue brick" due to its large size

1986 - MiniMed releases their first implantable insulin pump with significant improvements in size and programability

1990s - The new generation of external pumps was released and was much more compact and user friendly

2006 - MiniMed releases the first "smart pump" with CGM technology

2011 - The first patch pump, OmniPod, is FDA approved and released

2013 - The first pump with low glucose suspend is released by MiniMed 

2017 - First hybrid closed loop system hits the market, MiniMed 670G

Today - All insulin pump manufacturers within the US have FDA approved closed loop systems. Dexcom and Freestyle Libre systems are widely used and do not require finger stick calibrations. The best is yet to come. 



Kesavadev, J., Saboo, B., Krishna, M. B., & Krishnan, G. (2020, May 14). Evolution of Insulin Delivery Devices: From Syringes, Pens, and Pumps to DIY Artificial Pancreas. PubMed Central (PMC).

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