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[IP] Bent Needles

On March 1, Mary Costello wrote about bent needle infusion sets. I 
support what Mary said and can perhaps extend some of what she said. I
started pumping in July 1995 with a MiniMed 506 (upgraded to 508 in
Sept. 2000) using bent needle infusion sets. At that time none of the
infusion sets with plastic cannulas had reached the market, so I used
the best thing available, the bent needle. I have never had any
problems with bent needles. I believe that all the infusion sets with
plastic cannulas were brought to the market as an attempt to deal with
the people who are needle phobes. As long as you don't fear the needle
the bent needle works fine. I suspect that a majority of CDEs are
needle phobes because they never even tell their new pumpers about
bent needles. Even when the new pumpers have problems with kinked
cannulas. I have never even tried a plastic cannula because for me the
bent needle has been reliable and comfortable. Why ask for trouble?

The guage of the needle that's used in a bent needle infusion set
appears to be the same as the guage of needles on disposable syringes.
The bend is about 30 degrees, and the bent part of the needle is about
as long as the needle on a disposable syringe, approximately 1/2 inch.
The plastic tubing and the unbent part of the needle lie flat on the
surface of the skin, so you insert the bent part of the needle at 30
degrees. The MiniMed bent needle hass a Quick Release fitting in the
plastic tubing about 4 inches from where the needle is attached
(permanently) to the plastic tubing. The 4 inches is barely enough to
allow for a safety loop, which I use. I use two pieces of 3/4 inch 3M
Nexcare Clear Tape (Transpore) to secure the safety loop, and then I
cover the site and the loop with one sheet of IV3000
(2 3/8 inches x 2 3/4 inches, or 6x7 cm.)

If I fill the 300 unit reservoir to 300 units it lasts between 7 and 8
days for me. I tried doing a site change every 3.5 to 4 days but I
wasn't happy with the site lasting that long, so I change the site
every 2 to 3 days (3 sites for one reservoir). I put my sites in the
area above my waist line. I have to avoid an appendectomy scar on my
lower right abdomen, and I can't use my thighs because there is a 7
inch scar on each thigh from repair of hip fractures.

In 6.5 years with the bent needle I have never had a site pull out.
And of course I have never had a cannula kink because there is no
cannula. Bent needles don't kink! I do a lot of bicycle riding, and
the sites behave very well with the bent needles.

Why am I not a needle phobe? Probably because I had 52.5 years of
experience with self injection before I started pumping.

Tom Beatson
dx 12/1942 at age 10
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