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October 13, 2001

Insulin Pumps

Question from Orlando, Florida, USA:

I am 55 years old, have type�1 diabetes treated with two shots of insulin per day for the past 27 years, and last week I started using an insulin pump for the first time. I am having a problem with larger air bubbles in the syringe when trying to load with Humalog and doing a prime. I have kept the insulin at room temperature, but still seem to be struggling with the bubbles. Since I am new at pumping, I would appreciate any suggestions.

Answer:

Several ideas:

Spend extra time to be sure you get all visible bubbles out of the syringe by “flicking” (using your middle finger seems to work best) them out. If you try to push the bubbles up into the vial of insulin very quickly, you will lots of time get extra air and bubbles.
You should be sure your tubing is at a lower level than your syringe when you connect the two and push the insulin through for your first prime. If it is at a higher level there will probably be bubbles in the tubing.
Finally, look very closely at the tubing (hold it up to the light) to look for “gaps or bubbles” so you can push those through if present.

The air bubbles are challenging, especially when you know that means you are without insulin for a bit of time.

LSF