Air Bubbles Oh My!

Hi everyone, I would love to get some input here on experiences with air bubbles in the pump tubing. This has become an ongoing issue. I don’t use the insulin when it’s cold or past expiration, I fill the tube up as directed and Ive even tried wearing the pump upside down as rumor has it that helps! FYI I use the sure t needle based set. It’s the only one that doesn’t bend or break under my skin.( This was until I slept that night and the pump ended up all over the bed as usual) haha. The problem I now can’t seem to conquer is air filling up right at the connector needle where you clip the tube to the infusion site. Most times when I disconnect air fills up in this area. I would love to hear tips from all different types of pump users! I have a Medtronic pump BTW. :slight_smile:

Since I'm not familiar with the Sure-T infusion set, I googled for some images. I included one in this post just to make sure we're talking about the same do-hickey.

That is one strange looking infusion set IMO. What is that extra segment of tubing supposed to accomplish? At first glance it seems like just a pointless complication to me.

I am not sure where you are having a problem. Is it that you get air inside that wonky segment of tubing between the connector assembly and the actual infusion set?

If that is the problem have you tried any of the other metal needle based infusion sets? I'm not sure what is available. I didn't see anything besides the Sure-T on the Medtronic site. Have you asked Medtronic about other possible sets?

Another option could be to try infusion sets with metal needles which are meant for pumps that use a Luer lock connector. I know of at least one company which sells Medtronic compatible reservoirs with Luer connectors. They can be used in Medtronic's pumps but will connect to non-Medtronic infusion sets. Here's a link if you're curious: Paradigm Luer reservoirs from Fifty50 Medical.

I think they would work with the 530G as well as the Paradigm series since I think they both use the same reservoirs.


Irrational John: This picture might help a bit more. My understanding is that the first adhesive contact point is not an infusion site, the second point is. The first point is a protection against having the site being pulled out if you get the tubing from the pump caught on something. It simply pulls the first point, rather than pulling out the site.

Yes that’s it! I love this site I’ve tried almost every other Medtronic site and none compare. I call the second patch my “trap door” and it works like a charm. If I yank it the site is going absolutely nowhere and I love that. No air gets trapped in the connector needle it’s positioned in a way on your body to where the insulin flows down like a water slide. The air bubble im having trouble with is from the connector on my actual tubing. Whenever I take the pump off to take a shower air sucks up in the actual tube, no part of the site. The site is wonderful I have no complaints with it. I’m interested in these Luer reservoirs you talk about I’ve never seen anything like that how are they different than any other resevoir?

Here’s a picture of what I’m talking about. See the connector he’s holding in his hand?
14-image.jpg (66.9 KB)

It's not "strange" at all. It's a Sure-T and the only set I like. It's low profile, and since it doesn't use a cannula, it doesn't kink like those darn cannula type sets which I used for years. I almost quit pumping years ago because of so many issues with "no delivery" because of kinked cannulas. It's very rare that I get a "no delivery" with a Sure-T.

Agreed. I prayed I would find the right site and God gave me this one. You know what I am so very blessed. God continues to heal me every day and I am agreeing in prayer for a cure for all of us. It might seem petty that I complain about bubbles but at the time they were causing high blood sugars. I try to remember to pray event time I insert a new site and change the tubing that there are no air bubbles! My God is so faithful.

Dag gone I can’t stop typing site in my autocorrect lol. Insulin sets. Hahah

Where exactly do you wear your sure t? The needle is really tiny but sometimes it will hurt. The one I have in now is just starting to hurt after changing it yesterday but I usually change mine every two to three days. I’m like you I feel so secure in knowing that the no deliveries are at bay now.

The air bubble im having trouble with is from the connector on my actual tubing.

Oh. Well, that you can just "prime" away, no? Just redo the "fill cannula" step (or whatever it's called on your pump) with enough units to push the air out. I imagine 1.0 or 2.0 units should be enough, but if it's not, push a larger amount.

If you want more a more detailed description of what I'm talking about, you'll have to let us know which Medtronic pump you are using. IIRC, Medtronic changed the menu flow and naming slightly between the different models, supposedly to make priming the tubing more "fool proof".

FWIW, that's how I often prime a new infusion set when I need to change the site but I still have a day or more of insulin left in the reservoir. I connect the new infusion set to the existing reservoir and do the Fill Cannula function with it set to 10 units.

This may be obvious, but I'll just mention that you should use the "prime" functions of the pump to do this. Do not do a manual bolus. The insulin from priming is not tracked as part of your Insulin On Board (aka Active Insulin) amount. If you do a manual bolus it will confuse the pump ... and the pumps logs ... as to how much insulin has gone into your body.


If I'm reading this right you are getting air in the tubing just before the connection point, not in the tubing between the connection point and the insertion point. In other words on the pump side of the connector.

If that is the case I might ask if you suspend your pump when you disconnect. If so it may be worth trying not suspending your pump.

My logic is that as long as there is pump pressure pushing insulin forward then there should be no way that air can enter. The amount of insulin that is lost is negligible. As an example if your basal rate is 0.5 units per hour a 15 minute disconnect would only waste 0.125 units, if your basal rate is lower it will be even less. If you are like me you are only disconnected long enough to bathe, the insulin lost during that time is not worth worrying about.

Yes that’s what I always have to do to get that bubble out, however it was becoming an annoyance because I was having a lot of unexplained high blood sugars and bubbles filling in the tubing a lot. Most of the time it was when I disconnected but the real troublesome ones were when they just happened with no forewarning. The issue wasn’t getting the bubles out, that’s the easy part. The issue for me is an unexpected bubble out of no where with a high blood sugar. Im being a bit picky here but I detest highs. I would rather have a day full of nothing but lows than an elevated blood sugar. Just trying to arm myself with some preventative measures.

Either "new set" or "new site" can work in that context. When you change your infusion set you are also implicitly changing the site when the set is inserted.

You actually don’t have to do the prime with the sure t!! That’s another reason I love it the insulin is already there in the tube. That set is perfect I’ve also never had any issue with air getting in that tube it’s design is impressive.

Unfortunately I never suspend. I find it pointless as well but great tip for others that do suspend! I always hate it beeping or vibrating when I’m disconnected anyway. :slight_smile:


The first point is a protection against having the site being pulled out ...

Yeah, I get that. It just seems a bit ... much just to accomplish that.

After all, you can also just tape a loop of tubing to your body as potential strain relief. And, of course, there is also Mastisol & Skin Tac et cetera.

Oh, well. Suum cuique and all that.


What is that extra segment of tubing supposed to accomplish? At first glance it seems like just a pointless complication to me.

Oh, I'm sorry. I thought you didn't get that. In any event, I also wondered whether just taping it would also work.

Study how it’s made or wear one. It’s changed my life. I too like the previous pumper was at my wits end until I found this little site. You have to have the second connector without a needle to provide the perfect little tube. It was strange looking to me at first too until I did my research.

I also use mastasol, but when you work out as hard as I do and sweat like a maniac even Mastasol as wonderful as it is won’t keep those sets on.