Medtronic Pump and CGMS - infected insertion sites. Help needed : (


I have been using the Medtronic pump for over a year and the CGMS for about 6 months. About 3 months ago, one of the insertion sites for my CGMS sensor became very infected, it was red, swollen and hard and was really sore until it burst (sorry about the grossness). I ended up getting some antibiotics to clear up the infection but I still have a purple scar and slight bump under the skin. I stopped using the sensor because I thought I was allergic to it.

Recently my infusion sites from my pump have been getting more and more itchy, red and sore, to the point where I need to change out daily or I can't stand it. There is almost always a red, super itchy, welt left behind and last week one of the sites became infected, like the one on my leg had. It burst again and I think I have cleared everything out with alcohol and put some neosporin on it and have an appointment to see my Dr. about it.

I wondered if anyone else had the same issues and what they thought it was. Could I be allergic to the adhesive? I tend to have sensitive skin to band aids etc and so have been unable to use any of the bonding products (eg Skin Tac to keep the cannula in place). Would this allergy make the sites infected.

On a side note, my BS readings have been consistently high for the past few months (as in 200 above). I have been really distracted as have a 9 month old baby but am now thinking that the high readings could be because of the infections and/or bad insertions. I need to get this sorted I know but I am feeling totally depressed about it and cannot motivate myself to deal with it. As well as being painful and itchy the sites are also very, very gross to look at, which is making me feel gross inside as well.

Besides, I feel like I know that my Dr will just advise me to stop using the pump and after all the stress/training/adjustment getting used to it, I don't know how I am going to start all over with the injections again. Any advice would be very gratefully received....

Two suggestions:

If you're allergic to the adhesive, you can use Opsite Flexfix (available for purchase on Amazon) as a barrier between the infusion set and your skin. For me, that has helped with itching issues during the summer months.

However, if you're actually allergic to the canula itself, you may need to try one of the other ones. I think people have said that the Sure-T sites are good for those with allergies to the plastic canulas.

The allergy wouldn't cause your sites to become infected, but they WOULD cause them to become inflamed, and normal bacteria from your skin could be infiltrating via the inflamed areas. Are you super-duper careful about pre-cleaning the sites with alcohol wipes? If so, then maybe the trick for you is going to be changing infusion sets.

Another possibility is that you simply developed a subcutaneous infection and it has gone systemic, and it attacks every place you put your sites/CGMs simply because they're easy access points. This happened with my son once; any time I changed his site or CGM, it got infected immediately. We had to stop inserting CGM sensors and move his sites far from the original point of infection for a few days and give him antibiotics to resolve the infection. Since then, no trouble. If you tend to use the same general areas for your sites & CGM sensors much of the time, that could be the problem.

Stress alone could account for the high BGs you've been experiencing. Stress hormones tend to make you insulin resistant.

I have allergies to the adhesive in medtronic sets.

I posted this on another thread but here it is again,

I start off with skintac cleaning an area about the size of a credit card, Then I put a small drop of Neosporin in the center. I then cover the entire thing with an IV300 or Flexfix. Then I poke through the spot of Neosporin and into my skin. I have been doing this for several years and have had no infection since.

The inflamation caused by the sets creates a great place for bacteria to thrive, so if you can cut the inflamation and kill anything left, you should not have any trouble.

For my Sensors, I do not use neosporin because it clogs up the sensor, Instead I use an antibiotic pump spray that is not greasy at all just feels like water. I spray that, after I do skintac and then cover the whole thing with an IV3000.

I have never had an infection with my Sensors.

Hi Timothy,
Thank you for the reply. I have actually tried to use SkinTac before but also have a reaction to this. Maybe I am allergic to the adhesive in those too.
I have used IV300 to cover my CGMS sensors before though, and that seemed to work fine. Just so I am clear - do you stick the IV300 directly on to your skin and then insert the infusion set over the top of it? What exactly do you "poke" through the skin?

Thanks for the reply. I think I might be allergic to the adhesive based on what my Dr advises, and then when I scratch the area it creates infection in the site of the insertion b/c it is an open wound. I will try your suggestion.

Yes some indaviduls use IV3000 or Opsite Flexifix. You can get a single hole punch at Hobby Lobby or similar store. Punch a hole in the tape apply to skin and place the infusion set on top of it. If you look at the IV3000 it has adhesive that is applied in a checker board pattern so the skin can get air. Some individuals punch the needle through the tape but I would caution this it could drag a piece of the tape into the wound channel by the insertion needle causing it's own set of problems. The Opsite Flexifix is the same product with a solid adhesive about twice as strong but the adhesive is designed to stay on the skin a week or longer fallowing surgery.

People here have provided great suggestions. I would also recomend that you speak with a medtronic rep and mention that you are having a lot of problems with your current infusion set. I did this almost a year ago when I was having troubles with the silhoettes. Medtronic sent me 2 samples of their other infusion sets to try. I found out that the mios work very well for me and have been using them ever since.