[IP] Latest Dexcom STS Sensor Life: 17 DAYS!
Is that really safe? A very large part of the reason to change more
frequently is to prevent infection. I can make my pump sites last over 10
days (I've tried it once or twice just to see), but I don't do it because
it's not safe. Pumping is a little worse because of the constant infusion,
but the sensor is still causing a deep wound/open access for infection.
While the Transmitter is in place, the wound isn't really 'Open'... over
several days, without provoking an immune system response, it actually
pretty much seals up. A pump infusion set isn't merely a little worse
than the non-reactive Dexcom... it's HUGELY worse.
I can't/won't push an infusion site past 3-1/2 days, because my body
DOES react to the carrier fluid (and/or the insulin analog itself,
and/or the infusion process, and/or the nylon infuser). But when I
pulled out my previous Dexcom Sensor (after 12 days), there wasn't the
SLIGHTEST HINT of redness or reaction. If there had been, I wouldn't
have considered going for longer.
I disinfect my sites in a 3-step process: shave the body hair off, then
a couple wipes of Listerine, then a couple wipes of alcohol. I leave the
wipes to dry for about 20 seconds. (Time matters when you're disinfecting).
My Dexcom Sales Rep said something about the Sensors being "fully
oxygenated", which I took to mean that both the titanium and the
measurement chemicals are pre-rusted, therefore not prone to redox
reactions after insertion. He did say that this was different from MM,
but I have only his statement, nothing else to back this up.
This time, after 17 days, there was again absolutely ZERO sign of tissue
reaction around the small hole (just like the previous Sensor). Neat,
and totally unlike an infusion site after even the first 24 hours of
use. With my sterile approach to putting it in, there's hardly any
chance for anything to get in there. (I similarly alcohol-wipe the
Transmitter when I "trick" it for another 3 days).
So I feel good about this, even if the FDA feels chicken. They do have
to assume a very low level of pt. skill, not straight-A chem students
and MDs such as me and my wife.
If a site ever has the slightest hint of an itch, you bet I'll pull it
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