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Disconnecting pump for take off and landing?

Discussion in 'Parents of Children with Type 1' started by mysweetwill, Jul 18, 2012.

  1. mysweetwill

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    Someone posted this article on facebook about flying and the need to disconnect the pump for take off and landing particularly, if you or your cwd is on small doses of insulin. We are flying cross country tomorrow and I had not heard this before (just when I thought I had all the info on flying down pat!) and my son's daytime basals are very low.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/health/sns-rt-health-us-flight-ditre77i6eu-20110819,0,4056356.story

    Do you disconnect the pump for take off and landing?
     
  2. Sarah Maddie's Mom

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    Nope.

    (and I had seen that article, but in dozens of flights with the pump I've never had reason to suspect anything amiss)
     
  3. Beach bum

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    I've heard of this, but never have. Never experienced a problem. Once asked Animas about it and they said it wasn't neccessary.
     
  4. NeurosurgeryNP

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    I don't either.
     
  5. danismom79

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    Nope, can't! (Podders here). I honestly can't recall what my daughter's bg does during a flight. It must not be anything out of the ordinary.
     
  6. mysweetwill

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    Thanks everyone, I figured I would have seen someone here mention it at some point if it were a real concern. Ill just keep a close eye on him but not disconnect.
     
  7. swellman

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    If we were on very small doses of insulin or if my son were very insulin sensitive I *might* reduce basals a little if we weren't on a CGM. I believe there's a reasonable chance that, with the pod, the air bubble could expand at lower pressures on the aircraft and that would cause a bolus of some sort.

    However, he's almost always in the middle of a meal bolus during flight so I can't say I've seen anything I could reasonably pin on the pressure differences.

    In any event I would wait until the aircraft reaches cruising altitude to reconnect.
     
  8. serge28

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    My son is on Omnipod and we had issues with low BG while on the flight from Chicago to San-Francisco this year. Fortunately he had CGM, so we were able to catch all lows. After the landing his BG went really high. I do not know if that relates to that article or not, but that was our experience during the flight. His basal is about 0.4 unit per hour.
     
  9. nanhsot

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    I told my son I had heard this when we were taking off on a flight recently. He rolled his eyes at me (not meanly, just in that I seem to have all kinds of factoids about diabetes to share!). He disconnected and we closely watched to see if any insulin was forced out or air sucked in. Nope. I didn't mention it again on our layover/final takeoff!
     
  10. McKenna'smom

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    I have never disconnected DD's pump for take offs or landings. I even forgot to disconnect when we were in Disneyland on the Tower of Terror and California Screaming. Even though it is recommended, we had no issues.
     
  11. Cookie Monster

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  12. ashtensmom

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    We read about it too when we first starting pumping mid-November. We went on a trip one month after pump start and found she went high while travelling. Her lowest basal is 0.125 (but I think back in December it was even lower than that), so we were concerned that pressure affecting the pump would affect her drastically... but it didn't.
     
  13. jlh0920

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    We actually do disconnect for takeoff and landing, after reading this article and experiencing some pretty significant lows that we couldn't explain (prior to reading the article- makes more sense now). My daughter is also on very low basal rates, she is only 2, and we had a couple of flights with severe lows (in the 40s). After a recent flight where we disconnected, we were able to keep her numbers much more steady. I think it probably matters a lot more if the basal rates are low....
     
  14. DsMom

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    My adult niece with D is very thin, extremely active, and doesn't use much basal during the day...I think she even usually turns off her basal at night. She is also a flight attendant, and most definitely does not disconnect and reconnect every time she takes off and lands...would really stink if she had to.
     
  15. Lisa P.

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    There are so many factors and so many unknowns with diabetes that I think anecdotal information is going to be limited in its usefulness (not suggesting there's anything wrong with asking for it, I love anecdotes and I may be wrong about whether they are helpful here). I think when in a situation like travel there are so many factors that parents tend to just expect there to be more variation and they watch and adjust, throwing an accidental bolus in the mix is a serious thing in my opinion (because I had a small child with very small basal rates) but won't necessarily be recognized for what it is in all the hub-bub. You're also going to get variation based on things like how diligently the pump cartridge is filled (resting to get out bubbles, all that stuff), just how chance plays out, etc.

    To me, the study is pretty definitive and the logic pretty air-tight that there can be an accidental delivery of a small amount of insulin with an insulin pump on any given occasion where there is a significant change in atmospheric pressure. I don't think that's really under dispute, so the question is kind of whether that amount of insulin would be a problem, whether you want to just chance it that there probably won't be a bubble issue this time, whether the known hassle of connecting and disconnecting is worse than the potential hassle of dealing with having a touch too much IOB, that sort of thing.

    We have not used a pump on an airplane, but we did have serious problems with pumping and I suppose there's a possibility that since we live at 8500 feet and travel almost daily up and down (up to 10500, down to I don't know, regular, whatever! :eek::p) that our problems might have been bubble related.
     
  16. mysweetwill

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    Well, after reading all the posts and changing my mind sixteen times, I felt Id rather err on the side of caution, particularly since his basals during flight time range from .025 to .050, so i had my son disconnect for take off. I did what a few of you did, and watched that pump out of curiosity and didnt even see a smidge of basal during the time he was disconnected. Regardless, he stayed within range for the flight and Im hoping the rest of the trip is as smooth. Thanks to all, I truly appreciate everyone's help and insight.
     

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