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November 28, 2004

Insulin Pumps

Question from Washington, Pennsylvania, USA:

I started using a Deltec Cozmo pump about three months ago and have had nothing but problems with the insulin cartridges and infusion sets that were sent along with the pump. I have followed all the instructions given by my Diabetes Educator and the manufacturer's recommendations, but am still getting air bubbles in the cartridge/tubing sets long after loading the pump. The insulin is always at room temperature when I load a cartridge, and I have taken a great deal of time "tapping" out the air from the cartridge before inserting it in the pump. However, during the course of the two to three days the set is in, I can see air bubbles rising through the tubing, and when I remove the cartridge for a site change, there are always air bubbles present in the insulin that is left in the cartridge. I know this is affecting my control, because I am having frequent, unexplained high readings. On my last set change, not only were there air bubbles in the remaining insulin, but there was also insulin leaking below the seal in the cartridge. The lot numbers of the cartridges are not on any recall list, per the people at Deltec. Are other pump users having this problem? I am about ready to chuck the whole system and go back to my syringes.

Answer:

I am not familiar with this being a common problem. Rather, could this be a technical failure in a seal or something else. I would insist on a response from a representative from the manufacturer to see if this is common and to see if the pump and related equipment need to be reevaluated.

JTL