Pumps generally behave themselves, but like other mechanical devices they can misbehave. Mechanical problems cannot be solved by giving more bolus insulin. Assuming they can may easily lead to an unnecessary hospital bill. It's critical to recognize when the pump, infusion set, reservoir, or insulin is the source of high blood sugars. Below are some of the problems pumpers have encountered and how to deal with them:
O-Ring Leaks -A good seal between the O-rings and the reservoir wall is essential to preventing insulin from leaking out the back.
Tunneling - This problem appears to be more common with Teflon infusion sets, and is often encountered in golfers, tennis players, and active individuals.
Bubbles - Air bubbles in the reservoir are not a problem unless they are large and enter the infusion line to replace insulin.
Hub Leaks - Insulin leaks from your reservoir or infusion set are usually so small they are quite hard to detect. Your pump will not warn you of leaks.
Sweating - Excess sweating can cause even well constructed infusion sets to come loose and fall out.
Bleeding - Bleeding occasionally occurs near the skin surface and is seen as a red area (the small red spot to the right) at the infusion site.
Infections - Much like a hematoma, a lump can be felt under the skin, usually associated with discomfort, warmth, and high blood sugars.
Clogs - Insulin and plastic are not always happy campers together.
Any serious pump or infusion set problem or defect should be reported to the FDA Medical Devices Section.
Read Pumping Insulin for easy steps on how to succeed with your insulin pump.
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