Infection From An Insulin Pump

Here is a blog from a Facebook friend involving an infection from an insulin pump. Most unusual, and a frightening experience for her. She has a blogsite called Here is her blog:

The actual pump has not caused an infection the canula has though and that’s down to basic hygiene surely?


Surely. That is why I try to schedule site changes to happen right after my shower. I never use arms because they are more exposed than the belly and the midriff. Butt would probably be good, too, if I could reach it. :roll_eyes: My understanding is that all (?) insets are sealed into a sterile impervious environment. The only source for contamination would be the skin. Staph is commonly present on the skin and usually does not cause any problems unless it somehow sneaks into the body.

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I once had an infection at an infusion site. I was vacationing in Costa Rica and it was the last infusion site I had inserted the day before I traveled home. The site was sore on my trip home but I let it ride and changed the site when I got home. A few days later it turned red and swollen. A large raised section of flesh formed the shape of an egg. My diabetes doctor referred me to a surgeon who lanced it and drained the puss. It took a week or more to heal. My blood glucose was elevated and resistant to correction.

I figure in my diabetic life as an insulin pumper I have used about 3,900 infusion sites. Only one was ever infected. While I know any infection is serious, my personal incidence of infected infusion sites is very low. Other than washing my hands, I don’t do anything special to prevent infusion site infections.


I don’t agree that the candida caused the infection rather than the pump, since normally candida should not have been able to cause an infection, and the only thing that gave it entrance into the body where it could cause an infection was the pump.

Anything that creates a lasting opening in the body at the interface between some mechanical device and the patient is going to create an infection risk. Patients with catheters for dialysis access, diabetics with pumps, those with an ostomy because of intestinal by-pass, those with a j-tube because of gastroparesis, are all at heightened risk for infection.

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We are talking about a canula which pierces the skin not a yeast infection.
The pump does not pierce the skin. The pump PDM has nothing what so ever to do with the infection.

Preventing and Treating Insulin Pump Site Infections
By Jacqueline Marshall, Nov 11, 2014

People who use insulin pumps purposefully break their skin, the body’s main defense against bacteria, to receive continuous doses of life-saving insulin.
For many, the decision to use an insulin pump is a wise one, though it necessitates careful care of pump insertion sites to prevent infection.
Preventing Pump Site Infections
It is important to always follow the instructions given for safe insertion of an infusion set. You and the equipment must be cleaned with the prescribed disinfectant or kept free from contamination, including hands, the injection site, top of the insulin bottle, needle, cannula, and infusion set connections.
Having the set adhered snuggly to the skin also reduces risk of infection. Since cleaning the infusion site with soap can leave an adhesive-weakening residue, the use of alcohol, or IV prep wipes is recommended. Spraying the site with an antiperspirant and letting the area dry thoroughly before insertion helps keep the cannula’s adhesive patch dry and secure.
Some individuals place a bacteria-barrier such as a Tegaderm dressing over the needle or cannula to help secure it, and prevent the entry of Staphylococcus aureus or other infectious bacteria.
Still, no matter how careful you are with cannula insertion, an infection may occur at the site.
Signs of Infection
Pump users must change infusion sites regularly and be attentive to the current site’s condition. Redness, pain, swelling (a “pump bump”), and an unexplained elevated blood sugar reading are signs of possible infection and should addressed immediately to prevent more serious symptoms.
Either an abscess or cellulitis indicates a more serious infection. An abscess is a pocket of pus that develops around the insertion site. It may become swollen, red, and be warm to your touch. Cellulitis involves the underlying layers of skin spreading out from the injection site. Symptoms are pain, swelling, and redness.

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I’ve had two infusion sites get infected over the few years that I’ve been pumping. One was an arm site, one was a stomach site. In both cases, I’d followed the same procedure I always do to prep the site, etc. Both times, I had what amounted to a ‘warning’ in that the site became somewhat sore fairly early into its life. I let it ride, and ended up with an infection. One of those infections was bad enough that I showed it to my doctor, who prescribed oral antibiotics. The other, I treated with topical antibiotic cream. Both healed in a mater of a few days, in my case.

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Thanks, @Seydlitz, I am going to send this article, without your name attached, to the lady who had the infection.