Metal Sets

So recently Jen asked me if I had gone back to using metal sets and if they were working well. I love the metal sets - no kinking, and a lot less difficult to insert than I had imagined. But after using them for awhile (months, not days) I found that I had one after another that "failed" becoming painful a day or so after insertion and giving me very high numbers. I went back to plastic sets for awhile then decided to try again because I really liked the metal sets and had ordered lots.

So again I went months with no problems at all, keeping them in always for 4 days if I had enough insulin. I used my stomach but went from area to area from one edge to the other. So when Jen asked the other day I said, "all good!" Now all of a sudden the same thing is happening, three sets in a row "failed" in the same way. the one I have in now I put in yesterday and started feeling uncomfortable during the night. I woke up at 198, corrected and now, after breakfast am up to 362!!! Yikes! I'm going to try still using a metal set but using it in a different body part (hip). If that still fails I may try using plastic sets for a few changes than going back to metal, maybe I just need to alternate like that.

Anyone else had this problem? Where the metal sets worked for months than stopped working? Or do you think I just need to rotate body parts? (sounds vampirish!)

If a set feels uncomfortable and results in extreme highs, I would definitely remove it. Maybe it's against a muscle or something else that affects insulin delivery.

Do these failures happen when you leave sets in for four days? I think I read somewhere that metal sets are only supposed to be left in for two days. Maybe try using them for two days for a while and seeing if that helps?

In response to my post, I got people suggesting that stainless steel contains nickel and therefore might cause problems for people allergic to nickel (jewellry, etc.). For myself, I recently stopped using Skin Tac which seems to have helped a LOT. My sets aren't sticking half as well (they literally fall out after a day or two), but the rashes and welts are gone. My sites do still get sore, itchy, and have a raised, red bump around where the needle punctured the skin, but it's not half as irritated as it was with Skin Tac, and I don't get any of the extreme, random highs.

I'm still using extremely high settings on my pump (basal of 33 units, I:C ratio of 1:5, ISF of 1 mmol/L), but for now I'm fine with it as long as it keeps my blood sugars controlled. I definitely think I was reacting to the Skin Tac, and I think a reaction to the adhesive and/or possibly the metal needle might explain the remaining issues.

Anyway, didn't mean to get completely off-topic and hijack the thread with my own problems! I hope you get yours sorted out soon!

That's ok, Jen. I actually used the metal sets for a couple months and almost always left them in for four days. They were almost all fine for those couple months and now it seems none of them are fine (and it happens at various points, this time on only the second day). I also don't think it's an allergy thing for me, again, because it was fine for 2 months. (unless it takes that long to get sensitive). All I can figure out is that it's too long in one body part. It's puzzling to do fine for a couple months, then have problems (and have that experience twice!)

I'm glad you have found some solutions, and separated out the Skin Tac allergy thereby reducing your symptoms and the extreme highs. I agree that with all the problems you have had, if you have to take higher doses to get stable blood sugars, so be it!

My body started to reject them, they only worked for a few weeks before my troubles started. They became painful and would leave big red whelps that would linger for a week or so. I was excited at first but it was impossible for me to wear one for even 2 days which is the max recommended time before changing a metal set. Anytime the tip moves around it cuts tissue like a knife and will cause irritation, the SureT has a extra piece tape at the connector that keeps the tubing from tugging on the infusion set. The metal sets where also always painful /uncomfortable...but thats why the old bent needle sets where replaced with the new plastic sets, better comfort and less set fade (rejection).

Thanks for responding, John. You're the first person I've spoken to who had a similar experience. One question. When you say "it was impossible for me to wear one for even 2 days" and "the metal sets were always painful/uncomfortable" do you mean that was true even during that period of a few weeks before your troubles started?

For me, they are absolutely fine for not weeks but a couple months.(keeping them in for four days!) And I had lots of issues with plastic sets. So I'm considering either using them till I start to have problems and then switching body parts if that helps or just alternating using them for a couple months then using the plastic sets for awhile for a rest.

Yes they where never as comfortable as the plastic sets especially if I slept on one or leaned up against something like a desk or counter top. Some of them would fade after just 24 hours and I would start having to increase my basal.They where alot of trouble and when one would get uncomfortable or my BG would get out of range I would pull and insert it in a new location and tape it down. I now rotate between a 6mm set on my arms and a 13mm angled set anywhere I have two hands to insert it. Using my arms gives me 30 days of relief for the rest of my infusion areas.

Thanks, John. Yes, if I had your experience, I'd just stop using them. But since they work for me for a couple months (and I often have problems with the plastic ones) I think I still want to see if I can work around it by using different sites or alternating types.