Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Geeking Out About Infusion Sets

You may remember a while back, I called Medtronic's help line and asked for some samples of a couple different sets.  I've used the 9mm Quick-Sets with 43" tubing for years.  Years.  But it felt like I was getting a lot of bloody sites, and I wondered if 9mm was becoming too long.  I've lost a little weight over the last year.  Not a lot, but enough that I felt that I needed a shorter cannula length.

I was planning on just switching to the 6mm Quick-Set, but Sara convinced me that I should try a Sure-T.  I had always shied away from the Sure-T, as the thought of leaving a steel cannula in my body for multiple days didn't sound appealing.  Also, I am a total wimp, and didn't like the fact that the Sure-Ts are manual insertion only.  No serter.  Not appealing.

But with Sara's encouragement nagging, I asked for a couple 6mm Sure-Ts as well.  Two 6mm Quick-Sets, and two 6mm Sure-Ts.  I used the sample Quick-Sets right away, but I left those Sure-Ts sitting in the box.  For multiple weeks.

Finally, I decided to stop putting it off and try them.  Sara let me watch her put one in (thank you Skype) and gave me a few pointers.  So finally one day, I took a deep breath, and stuck one in.

The first Sure-T hurt a decent bit going in, but that was because I hesitated too much when I was inserting it.  I didn't use enough force.  I thought I'd be able to feel the steel cannula while the set was in, but I couldn't.  The second one I put in went better.  I made sure to use more force when inserting, and actually didn't feel a thing!  Say what?  Seriously?  A painless set change?  I didn't think it was possible.

So here I sit today, fully converted into a HUGE Sure-T fan.  Medtronic made it easy to swap most of my Quick-Sets for the Sure-Ts, even overnighting me a box of Sure-Ts once I'd decided to switch.  I seriously love their customer service.

There are two main reasons why I switched.  The first I already mentioned: inserting a Sure-T hardly hurts at all!  I'm still amazed when I change my set.  As long as I make sure to use enough force, I barely feel it going in at all.  I love it!

The other reason is the fact that the cannula cannot kink.  It's steel.  No kinking, bending, or pretzeling itself into weird shapes.  It's really nice not to have that variable to consider when blood sugars go wonky.

Not that the Sure-T is perfect.  I still hit bad spots.  I had to change my set at work Monday afternoon thanks to some stubborn highs.  And when I took the set out, I was greeted with a spurt of that lovely mix of insulin and blood.  When you hit a bad spot, it doesn't matter what set you use.  A bad spot is a bad spot.

There are a couple things I don't like about the Sure-T.  One is tubing length.  I like my tubing LONG!  (Yeah, yeah, that's what she said, I know).  But I really do.  I've used 43" tubing for as long as I can remember.  The longest tubing for the Sure-T is 32".  I really do miss those 11"!  For me, the switch is still worth it, but I would LOVE it if Medtronic would come out with 43" tubing on the Sure-T.  Pretty please?

The other thing I don't like so much is taking the Sure-T out.  Taking it out is worse than putting it in!  Since it's a steel cannula, you can't just rip the set out at any angle.  Well, you could, but OUCH!  When I take a set out, I meticulously peel up all the edges of the adhesive, grab the little butterfly plastic tabs used for insertion, and pull it straight out.  And that adhesive is sticky!  Yanking that off my skin smarts more than putting the stupid set in in the first place!

In spite of those things, I am so happy with my decision to switch to the Sure-T.  And I have no plans to use any other kind of set for the foreseeable future.  Thanks to Sara, Dana, Sarah, and Lili for their encouragement and advice.

So yes, Sara, you were right.  But I am NOT titling my post that.  Sorry.  ;)

EDIT TO ADD: Thanks to Meredith's comment, I realized I forgot to explain the extra adhesive.  The Sure-T has another adhesive patch that contains the spot where you disconnect the tubing.  My understanding is that it's extra security against the steel cannula being tugged on or ripped out (see also: OUCH!).  This way, the connector adhesive is what handles all the tugs and drops, making the actual set more secure.  It's annoying having two things stuck to me, but I do like the added security.

Note: I chose to write about the Sure-T because I really do love it that much!  No one at Medtronic asked me to write this post, and I was not given any sets other than the four samples.  Myself and my insurance company pay the full cost for all of my Medtronic supplies.


  1. soooo i don't use this one, but my question (and i know i could probably google it but you will tell me in our terms and that's better than google)...why are there 2 patches on you? did i skip that part in this post? if i did, i'm sorry. :(

    1. Levans5- thanks for answering while i was away!

      meredith- the sure-t has a seperate adhesive as extra security against the actual set getting bumped or ripped out. it is steel, so it does smart if it gets pulled on too much.

  2. And thanks to YOU and Sara, I asked MM to send me samples too! Hoping they arrive today before my endo appointment. :-)

  3. We just started pumping 2 wks ago- she's 2 1/2. We have only ever used the Sure T. something we learned just yesterday: BABY OIL or Lotion - before a site change!! I put it on the patches and waited a minute.
    She freaks out at site changes and her poor skin trying to get those stickers off of her. Horrible. But baby oil took it off she never even said ouch! It works wonders. 1st site change w/out any signs of pain.

    Meredith- the reason there are two patches- the second one is where we detach the pump for baths etc. It's a little clip that you squeeze and the pump comes off.

  4. Cara liked the sure-T's too and I loved that they did not kink but she HATED when we would remove a site, just like you hurts! Site change was becoming a huge fight and that is why we switched to the Mio. Cara now loves the Mio but I miss our sure-T's. I miss where they detached. I loved that about the sure-T's because we were able to tape her site on just like in your pic and of course the steel cannula...Ugh how I miss that!

    So glad your tried them :)

  5. Your 43" Quiksets said to tell you "what's up." Thanks again. :)

  6. Oh boy...I have a feeling Medtronic will be overwhelmed with Sure-T sample requests now! Ever since giving myself insulin by syringe a month ago (when my BG and keytones were both way too high), I've dreamed of how wonderful that BD Ultra-Fine felt, and am reminded of what a step backwards it was going to the gigantic Silhouette introducer needle.

    My big concern with the Sure-T is how it adapts to movement. I don't come close to having Moves Like Jagger (bad musical reference, sorry) but the mental image I have of a needle in me while doing something as simple as walking frightens me.

    1. Scott- I understand. i had the same worry. But I really can't feel the needle most of the time. Every once in a while, if I lay directly on the set, I can feel it. But it really doesn't hurt. Promise. :)

    2. i use the Contact D (animas pump) and it is basically the same set. steel 9mm cannula. i rarely feel it. i run around after kids all day, and carry them, and sleep on it at night, and it only bothers me if i have hit a nerve on insertion.

  7. First time I have read your blog and I had to read this entry. I have a very similar entry on my blog from December ( I previously used the silhouette for like 5 years and am a total Sure-T convert! Sure-T absolutely rules! Nice post!

  8. Paying it forward! I found out about Sure-Ts on the Diabetes Daily message boards and my pumping life was changed. Just glad more and more people are finding out about them.

    And I still like my original idea for your post title :)

  9. Thanks for the post, Jess. Great to hear your perspectives on these sets. I've always really liked the idea of the Quick-Set, but unfortunately I just don't do well with 90-degree insertion sets. I use the Silhouettes, since every time I use any of the others I get a kinked cannula. Oh well.

  10. Hi Jess - I recently switched from the medtronic to the animas and was not aware medtronic had something like this. I ordered 1/2 insert 30's and 1/2 contact detach (their metal inserts) and I'm not sure I like either. The insert 30's seem to start working their way out after a day to day and a half and I can feel the insulin going in, it itches and my blood sugars go up which is frustrating because I don't want to change it every day :(
    But the metal needle one I love for the reasons I don't like the insert 30, but I find that area between the 2 sticky pads to be a problem. Either things get caught in it - like my finger or a door handle (ouch!!!) - or if I try to make it tighter, then it pulls when I turn. How much slack do you allow between the sticky pads and do you ever have problems with getting caught on things? I use my abdomen for inserts. Have only used a few of these and am thinking about ordering the straight in inserts like I used to use w/ the Medtronic.

    Thanks for the post about this!

    1. hi carla! i stretch it out but leave a little slack so i can move without it pulling. and no, i don't get it caught on stuff. i only put it on my arm and back, so it's not generally in the way.

      i hope you can find a set that you like! :)

  11. I've been on the pump since the early 80's and have used all kinds of infusion sets but the Sure T but now all the plastic canula's bend because of scar tissue so I am going to try the samples they sent me a long time ago. Question.... can you use your arm? I can't use my lower abdomen or legs because I wear firm compression panty hose and my upper abdomen has scar tissue from yrs of diabetes and injections(since 1976). I know I am late getting on this forum so not sure if you will see this question. Thanks!

  12. I felt the same way you did about the steel cannula. I love the sure T now. I finally tried it and didn't feel a thing when I inserted it. Its the way to go if you ask me. great post.

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