Reusing tubing?

Hi all! What do you all think about reusing tubing?

You aren't 'supposed to'.. but is this like how you are supposed to change lancets every blood test? ;)

I ask because (in Canada at least) the Medtronic Silhouette insertion sets come in boxes with tubing or without tubing. They used to come in boxes where 5 had tubing and 5 didn't.. but now they don't and it's kind of annoying. But is tubing really a thing where I could be fine if I just changed it when something was 'up' with it?

A medtronic rep kinda implied that a lot of people are using them more than twice, and I never thought about doing this, but I can't see any major problems as long as checking regularly for kinks etc.

If reusing is fine is there a limit to how long one set of tubing should go for?


I reuse the tubing, but I make sure when I prime that the tubing is free of air bubbles.

1 Like

I reuse everything. Tubing, cartridges, even sets (Animas contact-D has steel cannula and can be moved, re-taped). But I don't push it as far as some. Cartridges, twice; sets for the life of one cartridge fill = 1 week, tubing change when set changes... But I'd guess everything might go a lot longer.

1 Like

I don't reuse tubing but I only change the tubing when I change the reservoir which is every 4 or 5 days.

1 Like

Apparently re-using tubing and the reservoir can change the insulin consistency into almost a jelly instead of a liquid, thereby causing it not to work. I had a girl tell me that it happened to her often, but I've never had this experience.

I often re-use my reservoir and tubing. You can now buy a box of 10 Silhouette Cannula's - no tubing at all. So I will buy 1 box of Cannula's ONLY and 1 box of Cannula/Tubing and change the tubing every other time. I re-use my reservoir about 10 times before changing, and have gone 4 or 5 site changes without changing the tubing (if I run out or something). I think as long as you keep an eye on things, you should be fine.

I too change the tubing every 4 days when I change the reservoir. As long as you prime to make sure insulin is getting through it should be OK.

Do you leave the same set in for a whole week? I can't do that.. My sites are always starting to get red and irritated after 3-4 days.

Yeah I alternate tubing and non-tubing.. the boxes used to be 5 of each rather than separate. I was told they changed it because people were reusing the tubing for longer so there was a demand for boxes with no tubing at all.

That's what I do right now.. well.. every other site change, I change the tubing. But I think many people do it much more infrequently.

Back in the day of my Disetronic pump, tubing was to be used more than once. The cartridge held a lot of insulin, so I just attached the current tubing to the new set, primed and put in the new set. It was standard and the way I was taught to do it by their pump coach.

Note that medtronics sets include tubing and cannula. So there is no monetary savings to reuse of tubing except for unused insulin left in the tubing. In another forum, it was posted that tubing, depending on length, holds between 5 and 8 units of insulin when full. So with set changes every two or three days, it amounts to a lot of wasted insulin.

No, I don't leave it in the same spot. Mine get sore too. So at 3 days I pull out the needle, trim away the adhesive circle, clean the needle w/ an alcohol swab, then use athletic tape to tape it down in a new spot. So the set lasts a week, but not in one spot. Most of my 44 yrs of D-life I couldn't afford insurance so I became uber-thrifty:-)

1 Like

I have not reused any of this, but I can't stand to lose so much insulin each time I change the quick-set. But I am a newbie with the pump. I didn't even know you could reuse any of this. I wait until the reservoir is almost empty, before I change it. At first I changed it as soon as the pump vibrated and I wasted a lot. You all have given me a lot to think about. Thanks

Hi Nicole

May I know where I can just buy the cannula? Thanks.

I, too, learned from boxes that came half with, half without tubing (from Asante). I almost always use tubing twice, but at minimum, use the same tubing until I change or add insulin to a cartridge – unless there are spots in the tubing that do not look good/turned white, etc. I don’t have a ‘need’ to reuse tubing, as all my sets come with it now, but if I’m not changing/filling a cartridge, I don’t want to waste the insulin in the tubing with a full prime every time.

Use both the tubing and the cartridges but when I reuse the cartridges I always suck out all the insulin and air bubbles and refill with fresh insulin. - I also suck out the remaining insulin from the tubing and cartridges and inject it all into an old Vial that I use just for (leftover insulin) [ I suck out as much air as I can from the vial creating a vacuum and negative pressure within the vial to keep O2 from further degrading insulin quAlity and keep in fridge. ( I use this “special vial” for emergencies !! … or I often will add about 5% (1/20 ratio) of old to fresh insulin into new cartridges. ( theory being if the “old” insulin is degraded partially or even fully (which I haven’t noticed happen even once yet - at least when using humulog) my insulin efficiency will never be degraded by more than 5% ( with a realistic # being more like 1-2% max…

1 Like

Thank you for this description. I use metal cannulas and am currently at high risk of losing my pump funding (UK) in the next few months due eating disorders/mental health meaning my HbA1c not being as they’d like. My argument that my control would be MUCH worse if I went back to MDI doesn’t seem to be holding water with D team/hospital auditors :frowning:

I have always (5 years’ pumping) reused cartridges several times, tubing forever n ever, and today I experimented with reusing my cannula after it had already been in one place for 5 days. 5 days was too long, there’s a biggish lump at the site. I usually change cannula every 4 days no probs. This is all to save NHS money (sadly NHS moving rapidly towards American health ‘care’ system under this awful right-wing, anti-public services government…) and minimise environmental waste and also less frequent changing easier when fighting depression when everything’s a major effort.

So now I’ve been warned by my nurse this week that when I see consultant in Nov, she’ll be looking at my pump funding situ cos the auditors need to justify every single pumper at the hospital. I’m really scared and planning on stockpiling consumables so I can at least keep going (by my calculations) for another 1-2 years. I have 2 spare Vibes as well as the one I’m using so if one of them fails in any way, I have back-up.


Thanks for your post, it’s reassuring you can reuse metal cannulas :slight_smile:

I used to reuse syringes for weeks n weeks til they were just too blunt.
(T1 46 years)

I’m sorry the health-care system threatens your access to continuing insulin pump therapy. I use a pump with a 300-unit cartridge and my usage rate allows me to use one cartridge and the attached tubing for about nine days.

I would caution you, however, to reconsider your site change frequency. I’ve been pumping almost continuously since 1987. Mostly due to convenience I started to leave my infusion sites in place longer than three days as long as my blood glucose levels were reasonable.

Within a few years of starting that practice I began to have troubles with poor site absorption. It took me several months to restore dependable insulin absorption. I changed infusion set styles and starting using new locations on my body. I gave my stomach a few years rest and now I’m using it again to good effect.

My practice now is to faithfully changes my infusion sites at three days. I will also change any site that remains painful 12 hours after a site change. I wait the 12 hours since the site pain often goes away and the site performs well.

Be aware that over-using an infusion site can lead to abnormal and unsightly fat growth (lipohypertrophy) and scar tissue. Sometimes that means that you’ll never be able to use that site again for insulin infusion. I’m sympathetic to your motivation to economize and protect yourself from the vagaries of health-care bureaucrats but don’t risk ruining your infusion sites.

I hope your November appointment goes well and the NHS auditors do not take away your pump therapy. Please let us know what happens.

Well that just sucks!! Sorry to hear it. I too had some form of bulemia for much of my younger life, am 49 years diabetic, 65 years old, and thanks to the kind husband I finally met at the age of 45, have managed to somehow qualify for Medicaid for the past several years. It is the healthcare EVERYONE should get. So I don’t have to reuse pump equipment anymore, unless of course our insane prez succeeds in defunding it all :roll_eyes::frowning:️.

But I do know that it works to reuse pump supplies, and if I must I’ll return to it. I wish you wildly good luck with your health care system there, glad to hear you have back up pumps and supplies to last at least awhile. MDI was a disaster for me, and not until the pump could I control my BG’s at all well. Take care!