Pod Occulsions

My 15 year old has had 3 occulsions in the past 24 hours......All of them occur during a bolus. His blood sugars were in range, before the bolus, so the pod is working....He is getting frustrated to say the least.......He wears pods mostly on his upper butt.....He isnt using anything to help the pods stay on......He does pinch before inserting......Not sure what else to have him try.....

Thanks for any advice......


WOW Beth, I’m really sorry to hear this. I know it is no fun for either of you!

I have not had an occlusion yet with my Omnipod so I can’t comment but I believe the first thing I would do is call customer support at Insulet and see if they have any resolutions.

Keep us posted.

That certainly is frustrating.

We have had the situation where the PDM errors during a bolus, thus rendering the Pod inactive. I noted this happening when the batteries are on the low side, though before the reminder to change them alerts. Since being more aware of battery changes, this has not happened.

I can’t remember the last time a Pod has given us an Occlusion error though. Even if the cannula is kinked and I know insulin isn’t being delivered properly - no alarm.

I hope it resolves itself or others have suggestions that help.


Have you tried not pinching the area before inserting? Speaking for myself, I wear the pod on my abdomen where I really don’t have any fat and I’ve never pinched it and I’ve never had any problems.

Has the pod returned any error messages? Perhaps those could give some insight into the issue. Hope you get it figured out!

When he gets the occlusions, is he sitting down?

I only mention that b/c it could be that the pod functions “normally” when he’s moving around or standing up but that when he goes to bolus (which is normally with food, and 9 times out of 10 you sit down to eat :wink: , the position that he’s sitting in is pushing the canula into a layer of muscle rather than just sub-cut. fat…so it’s throwing the alarm. I’m not sure how to “fix” this other than orienting the pod differently so that not as much pressure is placed on the side w/ the canula (which will likely involve trial and error between pod orientation and the tightness of his pants/jeans, etc).

Yes, he is sitting down when these alarms have gone off…I think you are on to something…Now how to prevent further occulsions!!

How was he wearing the pod those times? For example, canula pointing up, canula pointing down, canula pointing to the outside, canula pointing to the inside…etc. I would try to write down stuff about each of the times that it happens, and then of course, try not to do that again :wink:

I will have to keep track, I think he tends to have the cannula pointing towards the inside…Should he did it a different way? He always places it horizontal…

Sorry, how frustrating it must be for him.

I had my first occlusion a month ago. I’ve been on the pod about 15 mos.
I called Insulet, . My feeling, they really don’t know why it happens, BUT, they did say perhaps it was on scar tissue? I had put it on the morning before. Everything was fine when I removed the pod. No blood, canula was fine… Just don’t know! UNFORTUNATELY, they no longer replace the pod. It’s basically "our fault!

Occlusions are just a part of life with an insulin pump. Seems like many people go months without one, but then sometimes get a handful of them in a short period of time. That’s my own experience. I think the sooner your son accepts that they are just a fact of life, and not his fault or anyone’s fault, the better off he’ll be. I know, I know - easier said than done for a teenager.
If he gets an occlusion, it might be a good idea to try a different site for the next one.

+1 for Eric’s comments.

I haven’t had an official “occlusion” yet, with the alarm and notification, but I’ve had some pods not function properly, most likely due to pod placement. If I stay with the sites that have worked in the past, I don’t have problems. I’ve been gradually trying new sites because I don’t want to overuse the sites that i know work. At the same time, I don’t want to try 5 new sites in a row only to have 5 pod failures in a row due to site selection.

It really doess feel like a crazy game of Battleship. So far, Insulet has replaced two pods, my first failure from the first pod I ever tried (great way to start), and a recent failure that gave me a shrieking pod and an alert for some mysterious reason.

My 5 year old had an occlusion this weekend (on his first pod change, he’s been on since last Thursday). We did not get an alarm, the only way we knew was because he was registering HIGH when we checked his blood sugar. :frowning: When I called Insulet, they asked me to keep the pod. They are sending an envelope for me to mail it to them, to have the engineers look it over. I guess they are doing some research on why this happens? Not that this helps us in the meantime, but just an FYI.

My son had two yesterday. got so frustrated that when setting up the 3rd one…he did all the steps…except the one where you put it on!!! I took some insulin out of that one since it was never on his body. The “forth” pod is working great… I told him to try a new site. I don’t think he cleans sites good enough… sticky form old pod could have been in that area… even when he showers…old sticky sometimes stays w/him. He also has streatch marks due to weight gain then loss… it could have been that. I told him… just calm down… try a new area…and we will get one to work good. He still prefers it to MDI.

We went through a bunch of occulsions on our last batch of pods. It was very frustrating. The omnipod people told me to pinch up, not pinch up, change sites…Tried all of those and still would get them. One time the death alarm went off but didn’t even register on the PDM. He had to take it off and drop a weight on it to stop it from beeping. We then got our next batch and haven’t had an occlusion yet (just one that had a communication error). Omnipod suggested that I have an appointment with a trainer and I said sure!! I waited for someone to contact me and after a week, called my local rep. He had a trainer call and she felt that it was pod issues, not our issues (interesting) since my son has been on the omnipod for almost 2 years. She sent a bunch of new pods and we didn’t have any issues with those either.

I’ve been told the cannula should point to the outside, always, when horizontal on the back or butt.

Also, if he always uses the same area, it could be scar tissue causing the pod to occlude. Site rotation is so much more important than people give it credit for. I have areas of my body (my lower abdomen) that I haven’t been able to use for several years because I over-used them my first years of pumping.

My 17 year old has had the same problem this week. We have had two occlusions only on bolus when he was “sitting/laying” on the sofa watching tv. Only problems at home;The pods seem fine at school during bolus and basal and he had gone over a day on each pod. My son had both pods on the upper hip and wears compression pants.

Since it is the same physical location I wonder if there could be interference or if laying down is causing the cannula to sink too far into the muscle. It did just turn “cold” here in Texas (relative temp - under 80) so he is curled up with a blanket.

Also got a Pod Alarm #64 in the shower after hockey. I may call Insulet on that one as they had replaced this error code before as a priming error.

We just opened a new box of pods but so far none are in the running for our “longest lasting pod” competition.

I just had a pod go bad during a bolus injection, and had to change it. the PDM would not register with it and it keep beeping, you know the long annoying one when you have an occulation. I had to remove to pod, and put on a new one, now it will not let me give myself a bolus unitl several hours after the occulation. Is giving my the error of “due to a recent… ( can not see this word due to screen dripping), reset or unconfirmed bolus, infor on bolus can not be delieved unitil 11:53 pm.”, and the occulation happend around 8:30pm. Has anyonwe had anything likethis happen, it is really bugging me, and any help will be much appreciated. I am supposed to recieve my new PDM tommorrow, but i hope that it is not the PDM’s fault or the pod.

The error message you’re receiving actually probably pertains to not being able to deliver a bolus using the bolus calculator. The same thing would happen if you reset or changed the time/date setting…the PDM doesn’t have a complex enough algorithm to adjust for time changes and things of that nature because its calculations are all based off of your latest insulin bolus activity and your insulin duration (for example, 3 hrs, 3.5 hrs, 4 hrs, etc).

You an still give manual boluses with the PDM at any point, but you must enter it as the total number of units you want (so you have to do the math again like you are on MDI) rather than entering your glucose and/or the number of carbs you’re eating.

If the Pod fails before you ever wear it, call Insulet. If the failure happens during priming, they will replace the Pod free of charge. I have only had one occlusion (at work, in class, of course!), but twice now I have had Pods that did not prime right. Both times I called Insulet and they replaced the “bad” Pods. Once I got an error code, but the second time I just did not get the two beeps, so there was no code… nothing. Call if you don’t even get to wear the Pod and then , yes, pull whatever insulin you can get out of it!