How-To improve the consistency of your Blood Glucose readings using the Sure-T infusion sets for MiniMed Medtronic Paradigm Insulin Pumps 512/712 515/715 522/722 RT (Real time)
There are many options for infusion sets for insulin pump users. Most users are started on a set based on advice given by their endocrinologist or by their pump trainer. Most of the time the set you start with is fine, but not always.
Most people start with either the Quicksets or the Silhouette sets depending on the prescriber's preference the user's needs. Again these are fine sets and work wonderfully for a lot of users, but they are not the only sets available.
Another set that medtronic offers paradigm users is the Sure-T set. This set looks much like the Quickset 6mm. It goes in straight and is very short. The difference in this set it that instead of inserting a Teflon catheter with a steel needle guide, and then removing the needle guide, the Sure-T is a steel needle set that remains in the site.
I know, I know if you've never tried a steel needle set, you're cringing at the thought of leaving it there. that was my thought exactly when I thought of leaving an immovable needle under the skin of my 8 year old son.
One thing these set has that helps as well, is that there are 2 adhesive spots - there is an adhesive patch around the needle like other sets, then a tube about 5 inches long that is permanently attached to another adhesive patch with a receptacle shaped like the silhouette connector. Here is where you attach the main tube from the pump. This 5 inch section allows for a buffer to that the actual needle cannot be accidentally pulled out if caught. If the tube is pulled on it pulls on the plain adhesive not the needle.
We had been using the silhouette angles set for the 2 1/2 yrs before this from the time he was 6 and had started using an insulin pump. They worked well as far as delivering his insulin well, but there were 2 issues we had - he did not have enough fat on his belly so he could not put them in himself (he could only use his backside so could not reach) and they left large holes that were getting scared up.
We went on the search for a different set that he could insert and would cause let tissue damage. We tried the Quicksets, but they were terrible for him. Most of them never entered his skin causing him to go without insulin at all for a few hours before we could tell it was not in.
I talked to two different Minimed nurses and our Nurse Practitioner before I was wiling to try them. Each recommended them, but I was still stuck on the idea of a metal needle left inside my child. So after 3 independent recommendations I decided to try them. The results were shocking.
- My son did not feel them at all once they were in.
- They look like the smallest pen needle - very small and a relatively fine gauge.
- They are VERY VERY easy to insert - like giving a reg. insulin shot.
- They were very easy for my 8 year old son to insert himself.
- Because they are only 6mm, they could be put into his small belly and not hit his muscles.
- They did not cause the tissue damage that the large angled sets did.
- Because you are inserting the needle and you're done, there was never question about whether the skin was penetrated or that he would be getting insulin.
But, that was not all that we found. There were 3 totally unexpected outcomes as well:
- The sites did not go bad like the catheters do. When he gets a 'bad' site, it's either the tube that broke or the adhesive came off the site, but not the infusion itself.
- His insulin needs dropped significantly once we switched sets. His total daily insulin requirement dropped by 25% after switching. The only 'problem' we had with these sets was the new onset of low blood sugar results that he had the first week or so as we adjust his insulin down.
- His BG numbers became much more consistent and stable. Not 100% in range, after all he still is a type1 diabetic, and still a child, but we stopped seeming differences from day1 to day3 of an infusion set or differences in numbers from 1 set to the next.
So, My tip to you: if you use an insulin pump user and have concerns about the infusion set you are using, or wonder if you can do better than you are now, consider trying other types. Do not fear this set. There are real benefits to having a straight needle that cannot bend or crimp.