Pump Malfunction Causes

15 reasons why a pump might be malfunctioning.

Written By: ADCES staff. Supported by an educational grant from BD.


Factors That Contribute to Insulin Pump Failure

Insulin Pumps have come along way, but they aren’t flawless. Failure can occur for different reasons, but most challenges can be easily identified and corrected. Use this list to of the top 15 challenges to identify the culprit.


15 Common Insulin Pump Issues Affecting Use

  1.   Loose connections (check them, tighten them)
  2.   Kinked or clogged cannula
  3.   Air bubbles in tubing from tubing that was incorrectly primed
  4.   Cracked tubing
  5.   Dislodged infusion set or cannula came out of skin
  6.   Ineffective infusion site. Scarred skin or lipohypertrophy (fatty scars under the skin won’t absorb well.)
  7.   Site irritation or infection
  8.   Empty insulin reservoir (refill it)
  9.   Expired insulin or insulin that went bad due to heat or freezing
  10.   Incorrect bolus doses or settings
  11.   Missed bolus doses (check pump memory)
  12.   Incorrect basal rate settings
  13.   Pump was left in suspend mode for more than two hours
  14.   Old batteries (change them)
  15.   Pump malfunction (specific pump company technician can troubleshoot if replacement is needed)

For manufacturer contact information, choose the device from our find & compare insulin pumps page and select the right pump.


Reference: Boldermann, Karen. “Putting Your Patients on the Pump”. 2nd Ed. 2013.

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This site and its services do not constitute the practice of medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always talk to your diabetes care and education specialist or health care provider for diagnosis and treatment, including your specific medical needs. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem or condition, please contact a qualified health care professional immediately. To find a diabetes care and education specialist near you, visit the ADCES finder tool.

ADCES and danatech curate product specifics and periodically review them for accuracy and relevance. As a result, the information may or may not be the most recent. We recommend visiting the manufacturer's website for the latest details if you have any questions.