4 features of the Bolus Wizard

bolus wizard

A lot of our customers give credit to the Bolus Wizard being one of their favorite features of their insulin pump because it takes out a lot of the guess work involved in day-to-day boluses. Guess work like, how much insulin is stacked up since the last time I gave a bolus to bring down my high blood glucose? Or how much insulin do I need to take for these carbohydrates I’m about to eat? 

You’re probably familiar with the Bolus Wizard function on your pump, but do you use all of its features – carb ratio, insulin sensitivity, blood glucose (BG) target, and active insulin time? Let’s dig in a little deeper. 

These features have the capacity to program different settings (up to 8!) for various times of the day to take into account your daily glucose variations and personal goals throughout the day. Working closely with your healthcare team to program these settings into your pump, you’ll only need to enter your current BG reading and number of carbs you’re about to eat or drink to utilize the benefits of the Bolus Wizard. Often times, healthcare teams look at both basal amounts and bolus settings when making insulin pump adjustments to meet your diabetes management needs, so it’s important to be familiar with the settings involved with your bolus amounts.


Carb ratios

An important part of your diabetes management is determining how much insulin you’ll need to cover the amount of carbs you’re about to eat or drink. Because carb ratios may vary throughout the day and will rarely stay the same over a long period of time, your pump allows you to program up to 8 different carb ratios. If you count your carbs, this ratio is the amount of carbohydrate grams covered by one unit of insulin, and ranges between 1 and 200 grams per unit. For example, if your ratio is 1:15, you’ll need one unit of insulin for every 15 grams of carbohydrates you eat. New to carb counting, or need a refresher? Here are 5 tips on how to count your carbs. If you count exchanges, this ratio is the amount of insulin you’ll need to cover one carb exchange, and ranges between 0.075 to 15 units per exchange.


Insulin sensitivity

Your insulin sensitivity is the amount your BG level is reduced by one unit of insulin, and is used to calculate a suggested insulin dose to correct a high BG. Similar to how your carb ratio varies throughout the day, your insulin sensitivity may also fluctuate over 24 hours. For example, you might not need as much insulin in the middle of the night if you need to correct a high BG. To account for these variations, your pump allows you to program up to 8 different insulin settings.


Target blood glucose range

Your target BG range may also vary throughout the day and night, so your pump will allow you to program up to 8 different BG targets each day. For example, you may have a specific target in the middle of the night, which might vary from your daytime targets. If your current BG is entered in to the pump and it’s above your current set range, the Bolus Wizard may calculate a correction dose recommending how much insulin you might need to bring your BG down to the high end of your BG Target Range. Or if your current BG is below your BG range, the feature may calculate a negative correction and subtract it from your food bolus to bring you to the low end of your current BG Target range.


Active insulin time (hours)

Active insulin is the bolus insulin that has already been delivered to your body, but is still working to lower your glucose level. The active insulin time setting lets the pump know how long insulin continues to work in your body. It calculates the amount of active insulin and subtracts the active amount before estimating a bolus. For example, if you recently had a snack and then checked your glucose before eating your next meal and before your previous insulin dose has had its full effect, your pump accounts for the insulin you’ve already taken to ensure that you get the correct dose. This may help prevent hypoglycemia caused by over-correcting for a high BG. Still not sure what this all means? You might like this blog post, “Explaining Active Insulin”. 

If you haven’t set up the Bolus Wizard on your pump, work with your healthcare team to determine the settings that are best for you. Did you learn anything new about the Bolus Wizard feature? Let us know in the comments below!


Medtronic Diabetes insulin infusion pumps, continuous glucose monitoring systems and associated components are limited to sale by or on the order of a physician and should only be used under the direction of a healthcare professional familiar with the risks associated with the use of these systems. Successful operation of the insulin infusion pumps and/or continuous glucose monitoring systems requires adequate vision and hearing to recognize alerts and alarms.


Medtronic Diabetes Insulin Infusion Pumps
Insulin pump therapy is not recommended for individuals who are unable or unwilling to perform a minimum of four blood glucose tests per day. Insulin pumps use rapid-acting insulin. If your insulin delivery is interrupted for any reason, you must be prepared to replace the missed insulin immediately.


Medtronic Diabetes Bolus Wizard Feature
Do not use the Bolus Wizard to calculate a bolus for a period of time after giving a manual injection by syringe or pen. The Bolus Wizard does not account for manual injections, and could prompt you to deliver more insulin than needed. Too much insulin may cause hypoglycemia. Consult with your healthcare professional for how long you need to wait after a manual injection before you can rely on the active insulin calculation of your Bolus Wizard. 
Please visit www.medtronicdiabetes.com/importantsafetyinformation for complete safety information.


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Submitted by Adair Rains Flowers (not verified) on

In reply to by Commenter (not verified)

I typically use the wizard for high bgl. It calculates the needed bolus faster than I can.
I struggle to use it for meals and such because I have been calculating my intake in my head for so many years. I look at a meal, see the number of carbon exchanges and do the math. It is a hard habit to change.

Submitted by LOOP Blog Editorial on

In reply to by Adair Rains Flowers (not verified)

Hi Adair, thanks for sharing your experience with us. I’m glad you find the Bolus Wizard helpful for high blood glucose levels. We know our community members use different features on their insulin pump to meet their own individual needs. Please let me know if you’d like to talk to someone from my team about using the Bolus Wizard feature for meals and snacks.

Submitted by Robin Suarez (not verified) on

In reply to by Commenter (not verified)

I have been having an issue with my 530G with it not taking my active insulin into the bolus calculation. I called the support line and gave the person I spoke to this instance: My BG was 132, my SG was 167, I was having 61 carbs for my meal and the bolus wizard gave me these numbers: 2.5 units for my meal, .4 units correction, 1.2 units active insulin, total dosage 2.5. I did all the math myself and the meal & correction bolus was correct, but when I do the math with the active insulin the 530G should have told me to take 1.7 units. Since I suffer from frequent lows whenever this happens I adjust the dosage before I bolus. From 2/15/2015 to 3/8/2015 this has happened 14 times. I have started a spreadsheet to keep track. The customer service rep couldn't give me a reason why the 530G would do this. I am concerned that the pump my not be functioning properly at times. I will continue to call customer support after every few instances of this until I can get a clear answer as to why this would happen.

Submitted by LOOP Blog Editorial on

In reply to by Robin Suarez (not verified)

Hi Robin, I’m sorry to hear you’re having issues with your insulin pump not accounting for your active insulin when bolusing. I will have a technical product specialist from my team reach out to you to try and help. Please let me know if there’s anything else I can help you with.

Submitted by Robin Suarez (not verified) on

In reply to by LOOP Blog Editorial

Thanks Sara. Someone called me tonight and they are sending me a new pump tomorrow. I believe the person who contacted me believes that my pump is functioning properly but said they would replace it since I felt it wasn't working correctly. I just don't understand how they could think it is functioning properly when for my breakfast, lunch and afternoon snack bolus it always takes active insulin into the equation for a total dosage but for my dinner it sometimes does and sometimes it does not. We'll see if the new pump functions the same. I love my Medtronic pump and fought my insurance hard to get it. I would never give it up. I just want Medtronic to be aware of what to me seems to be a problem.
Thanks again for your help!

Submitted by LOOP Blog Editorial on

In reply to by Robin Suarez (not verified)

Robin, I’m glad someone from our team connected with you and was able to help. Please let me know if you have any further questions or issues once you receive your new pump.

Submitted by Robin Suarez (not verified) on

In reply to by LOOP Blog Editorial

Just an FYI for anyone that read this post. My replacement pump does the same thing. I reviewed all the instances of this happening and came to the conclusion that the pump will not take active insulin into consideration when the result would be a negative correction and you are above your target range. If a Medtronic Customer Service Rep would have explained it to me this way I would have understood....don't agree just as I don't agree that it doesn't use active insulin when below your target either. Suffering from frequent and severe lows in the past makes me watch very carefully how much insulin I get. I just override what the pumps says at these times.

Is thers any advice for the delayed bolus feature? I don't have ang idea how long to set it for. Thank you.

Submitted by Annie (not verified) on

In reply to by Commenter (not verified)

I don't understand the sensitivity setting on my insulin pump. It was at I think 86 from 9am to 9pm but saw my Dr last week and she lowered it to 75. Have been having quite a few lows since then. Am I getting more insulin now?

Submitted by Karrie Hawbaker (not verified) on

In reply to by Annie (not verified)

Hi Annie, the insulin sensitivity setting is the amount that your blood glucose (BG) level is reduced by one unit of insulin. If you have questions your personal settings it is best to reach out to your healthcare provider. If you'd like to learn more about the bolus wizard or insulin sensitivity, please call our 24 HelpLine at 800-646-4633, option 1.

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