How long do you go between infusion set and sensor changes?

I am a relatively new Medtronic pump user (since last December), and I just received my first set of "refills" of my Enlite sensors and Quick set infusion sets from Medtronic. I was shocked that the original cost was over $2000 for a three month supply, and fortunately my insurance paid all except about $400. I don't know about anyone else, but I am a senior citizen and my husband and I are retired and I know I will not be able to afford to pay $300-400 every three months for refills in the future. We just don't have that much income. I am seriously considering keeping the infusion sets and sensors in for as long as they last, just refilling the reservior when necessary and unattaching and reattaching the sensors when it says "sensor end". Are there any major risks to doing this? Also, if any of you do keep them connected longer, what is the longest you have ever experienced? Thanks for any comments!!

Yes, I do know that the recommendation from Medtronic is every three days on the infusion sets, and every six days on the sensors. Just asking if any of you try to extend their use in order to save money.

I don't know anything about sensors, but I keep my infusion sets in for 4 days without problem and a couple times I've pushed it to 5. It seems there is a real variation with some people noticing a difference or having problems at 2 or 3 days and others like me, being able to slide. For myself I do it just because I like to spend as little time possible dealing with my D. I used to pay 20% but since I started Medicare in november all my DME is free. (Yay!). I do have a really great version of Medicare where Medicare pays 80% and then Anthem picks up the other 20. It sounds like you may only have the 80%? Just make sure you check out your coverage to get all you are entitled to. I've found that with combined coverage there is a lot of need to fight to get everything I'm supposed to get.

Also, before I started Medicare I applied to Animas for financial aid due to low income and they waived the 20% for my pump (so it was free!) and gave me a 30% discount on my supplies.(30% off of 20%). Perhaps Medtronic has something similar.

I've also never used sensors, but as for changing insertion sites, it will depend in part on how much insulin you take. I often left it for 4 or 5 days (but not always) but I usually only took about 20 or so units per day. I think if you take a lot more, you are more liable to develop scar tissue and absorption problems.

Thanks for your comments, Cora and Zoe. I am currently past one week on both the sensor and the infusion set, no problems detected yet. Did not think about the scarring issue! I shoud do more research on this, for sure.

I get about 3 1/2 days out of an infusion set/site. I change because I run out of insulin.

I have had problems with sites losing their consistent absorption. Scarring can be a problem with sites at 3+ days. I use a loofa sponge when I shower and try to rough up my sites when I can. I changed infusion set styles a few years ago and that helped a lot.

I use Dexcom sensors and usually change the site at 14 days, sometimes earlier.

Yes, this high-tech gear costs some bucks. If the rules don't change, I'll be paying for my CGM kit out of pocket once I hit Medicare age.

Extending the wear periods will definitely lower your cost.

Curious, Terry, why do you "rough up" your sites; I actually try and remember to moisturize mine regularly!

Hi, as most above mentioned above, sensors you can wear for as long as they show accurate results, but with sets i would watch out more, since ugly things can develop from over worn sets, like a lower insulin absorption, higher chance of a clogged cannula, and my biggest fear, an infection. we have a member who had some nice trips because of his set, and i think he didn't even overwear the set. see here:
http://www.tudiabetes.org/profiles/blogs/etrick-part-1-1
i do not wanna advise completely against wearing sets over the time of 3 days, but i would change after 5-6 days for sure.
As far as i know, the sensors are way more expensive than the sets, so you should be able to save a lot while only wearing the sensors longer than recommended.

The loofa sponge creates blood flow at my old sites. I'm thinking that that additional blood flow helps to restore healthy tissue and diminish scar tissue. Not sure if "rough up" is the best description but it does cause the skin to get red. I don't really rub the skin all that hard, just enough to get the blood moving.

The main reason it is recomended to change your infusion set every 3 days is due to scar tissue. Early pumpers in the 1980s often left an infusion set in for 7+ days if it was working great. As time went on a lot of these pumpers have considerable scar tissue. The scar tissue causes infusion sets to fail and some people have much more limited areas where they can get an infusion set to work. You may still develop scar tissue if you change every 3 days as prescribed, but it should be slower developing. I change my infusion sets every 3-3.5 days due to the fear of scar tissue and limited sites.

The sensors are a bigger expense for me and I like to let them ride as long as they maintain accuracy. Further, I place the sensors in my arms or legs. This leaves my abdomen real estate open to just infusion sets. Sensors may cause scar tissue, but I have read reports that it has little effect on their accuracy.

Thanks, that makes sense.

3 days in and out, I have three of these puppies get infected. Two required surgery and left marks the size of Connecticut, the third was directly injected four times with big loads of antibiotics and I too antibiotics for 20 days. The surgical wounds both required going to the local wound center once a week for two months to heal. Yeah, whatever the savings for a fourth day, it is not worth it.

I lost the time, it hurt like crazy and in the end i have lost three pump sites. making my right side and upper left leg useless of pumping. In each case the infection spread so fast and so big it looked like I had been hit by a baseball bat.

Like I said 3 days, it is not worth the risk. Now on the plus side, I have never had a sensor site get infected, but i still change them out after 3 days. Its just too much risk.

Thank you ALL for your very helpful replies!! I got the message. I so agree that it is not worth the monetary savings if it ruins my health or my infusion sites. The sensor is supposed to be changed every sixth day, however, without my even asking, my endo doctor told me I could just disconnect the sensor and reconnect it after six days and go another six days, and that would save money, so I'll just go with that. I do feel more comfortable now, changing the "set" every three days. And I'll be sure to use sterile technique to help prevent site infections.

If you are on Medicare, your pump supplies should be covered as well as your blood glucose strips. Medicare does not cover the CGM yet. Phone Medtronic and ask how to use what's available. Medicare requires you to submit a month log every 6 months, but that's not a big deal.