OmniPod Occlusions

I have been a pump user since 10/2005. I started with the Medtronic Paradigm and used their pumps for 8 yrs. In the past year, I have tried the Asante Snap and OmniPod, which I use now. I liked certain features of the Snap but had too many failed deliveries; the Asante folks were great and allowed my return of their device. I really like the OmniPod for many reasons, most notably, of course, no tubing. However, I have had lots of failures with the device. OmniPod also is great in replacing the failed pods. Historically, I have had very few occlusions. Recently though, I am having occlusions. I am very careful to rotate my insertion sites and do not believe I have any obvious scar tissue concerns. Is there anyone who also has experienced occlusions with OmniPod and successfully limited or eliminated them. If so, how?

Sorry, I can’t answer your question since I had to give up on the Omnipod after months of trying to solve occlusions and intermittent poor site absorption. I realize that my experience with the Omnipod was the exception, not the rule.

I’m curious to learn more about your experience with the Snap, since it is on my short list for my next pump. Can you describe the “failed deliveries”? Was it a manufacturing fault, quality control problem?

I’m not surprised to learn that you liked Asante customer service. That was emphasized by a TuD video interview of their CEO, sometime during the last year.

Good luck with solving your pump problem.

Asante, my endocrinologist, health educator, and I could not figure out the problem with failed deliveries. They most often occurred during the night while I tried to sleep. I felt the problem was "crimping" of the tubing. I just could not continue to have interrupted sleep on a fairly regular basis because of pump alarms. The joy of the Snap for me was use of pre-filled insulin cartridges. Otherwise, it was another pump and, unfortunately, one that didn't work for me.

I would agree with you. Night-time insulin interruptions are definitely a no-go problem. Yours is the first report that I’ve read about. I wonder if others here have had that problem.

Did Asante try to isolate the problem to a certain batch of supplies?

Failures were unrelated to same batch or same lot of supplies.

I am not a paid advertiser, but I've been on a Minimed for 17 years, three pumps, no set problems, except for being too active for a Quik-Set and went to a Silhouette. I just go with whatever works.

I had the same issue on a regular basis with Novolog. Once I switched to Humalog it hasn’t happened since.

Wow! Do you know why the insulin would be a potential cause?

Sorry, I don’t. I discovered this by chance and it just worked.

Some recent research suggests that when considering infusion site problems (occlusions, degradation of site efficiency, etc., ) there may be signficant differences between the three Analog insulins, Novorapid (aka Novolog), Humalog and Apidra. Although all three showed similar stability in "conventional" tests (e.g. how long do they remain active in a reservoir), when tested using actual infusion site conditions, there are significant differences between the three.

The problem is that buildup of carbon dioxide can cause transient reductions in the local pH around the cannula. At low pH insulin can denature to form insoluble fibres that are pharmacologically inactive, can interfere with absorption and in the worst case can block the cannula. The consequences are reduced insulin absorption as the site gets older and at worst an increasing chance of an occlusion as the site ages. These results may explain why some people have to rotate their sites more frequently than the standard 3 days (or experience rising BGs on day 3).

Of the three Analog insulins Apidra is much the most susceptible to pH-dependent denaturation, and in the study was (IIRC) about 40 time more likely to cause blockages or poor absorption than Novorapid (which was the least susceptible to these problems).

I used Apidra since starting on a pump and have never been able to make my infusion sites work efficiently for 3 days. AFter increasing problems on day 2, I recently switched to Humalog and have found thatwith the change I can make the site perform reliably for at least 2 days.


Hey Joel

This was my experience as well. Apidra seemed to lose its efficacy after about 24hrs in my Omnipod, I experienced many occlusions with Novolog (often at the worst times like the middle of the night), and Humalog works reliably for me for the entire 3 day life of my Pods.


Hi. I have been a pump user since 11/2011. The Omnipod is the only pump that I have ever used. I dealt with a great number of occlusions in the previous version. I found that it had a lot to do with pod placement and they most often occurred on day 3. When you find a sweet spot stick with it! With the new version, I have not had a single occlusion. I recently switched to Novolog from Humalog(for insurance reasons). As long as I use insulin that has a chance to rise to room temperature and I stay away from sites that just don't work for me - No occlusions. I simply cannot wear it on my back and can only wear it on my thigh for 2 days. The new canula insertion is interesting. If it does not click in the way that it should (sound and feel)I wait until the priming and initial bolus completes and press down. The canula goes further in and even though its slightly uncomfortable it functions better. Hope this helps.

While I'm late to this discussion, here's my two cents:

  • I've been using OmniPod for about 6 years
  • I haven't had many occlusion alarms, but when I did the cannula was bent - likely the result of the pod being bumped
  • Unexplained hyperglycemia (i.e., no alarms) could be tissue absorption issues at the cannula site, perhaps scarring that's not visible
  • Subcutaneous scarring deserves a lot more attention and awareness than it gets
  • OmniPod has not solved ongoing quality issues with pods

In my experience with the OmniPod system, site placement is the single most important variable separating predictable glucose results and random hyperglycemia. Since OmniPod has only one choice re cannula angle and depth, I'm starting to consider going back to infusion sets . . .

I might be the only omnipod user who doesn't have this problem… I have had some issues with blood clots occluding the cannula after a particularly rough game of water polo, though.

What were the issues you were having with the Omnipod that you felt were relieved by moving to humalog? Have you heard of others that have also had their issues relieved by moving to humalog? So interesting…that the type of insulin could be at the core of these issues…

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