Broken DexCom Wire

DexCom

Broken DexCom Wire

Sensor error.

Restart.

Good numbers.

Return to top and repeat a few times.

Recurrent sensor errors.

Pull the sensor.

I think it was day six so my attitude about this oddly performing sensor was, “oh well”.

After I took it off I was examining Caleb’s skin and was rather in awe of the fact that it was looking really good. I brushed my fingers over the smoothness and felt a bump. It was the wire to the sensor. It had broken off not at the tip, but at the base so I was able to pull it out easily. I could see that the little silver end was intact and was confident that I had removed it completely.

I reported it DexCom. They took all the pertinent details, asked for a download of the receiver data and sent a prepaid package so I could return it.

DexCom

Sensor Wire Intact

I have since pulled another sensor from Caleb and verified that the length of the one that broke off was intact by comparing the wires.

I share this so that if you see a similar instance of ??? and/or sensor errors, you consider making sure the wire is removed completely, and if you suspect otherwise, seek medical assistance. I will likely examine every wire I remove from Caleb henceforth just to be sure.

Further to this end, I asked a couple of friends who I knew had similar issues to share their stories.

From Elizabeth Arnold (by the way, congratulations on your book!):

Yes, it happened to me a couple of times…Both times I was wearing the sensor in my arm, I inserted and got failed sensor warnings, and when I pulled the sensor out I could see the wire wasn’t attached. I called Dexcom and they told me the wire would eventually work its way out, but so far (this was months ago) both wires are still in my arm. I’m assuming now that they’re not going anywhere…

There were no infections and it didn’t cause me any pain, but I’d heard reports that a few people actually needed surgery to remove the wires (I guess because of infection.) The one thing that bothers me is that when the discussion with the FDA took place, I believe Dexcom claimed it had only happened rarely (I think under 20 occurrences), and I can guarantee that if it happened to me twice (both times I reported to them) it’s actually much more common than they’re stating. I assume it’s not all that dangerous or the FDA would be making a bigger deal out of it, but I don’t like the idea of there being wires permanently lodged in my arm!

From Laura Houston:

Due to lack of real estate on Nate’s 2-year old body I thought I would try putting Nate’s OmniPod and DexCom sensor on his tummy.  We normally use Nate’s tush for his pod and rotate the DexCom sensor back and forth between his arms.  After I placed the sensor on his tummy I waited the 2 hours and put in the 2 bg checks and immediately received a sensor error, it was late, I was tired, I restarted the sensor.  Two hours later, I repeated the process this time with success but the next day I just kept getting ‘off’ numbers and a lot of ???.  I won’t lie I didn’t want to lose the sensor so I restarted once again only to repeat the entire scenario.  I finally called Dexcom to report the problem, I uploaded the information and sent it to them for review and they told me to pull the sensor.  I waited until Nate’s bath time to remove the sensor from his stomach and when I pulled it off there was no wire attached to the transmitter.  I immediately called DexCom to report the problem and ask for some advice on how to handle the situation. I was completely blown-off by the CS representative and told that I must not have seen the wire fall out.  I would have thought that too if it had not been for the hard, red knot where the sensor had been.  I took Nate in to the doctor (for his regularly scheduled appointment) about a month later and it seems that the sensor is still in place but there in no sign of infection and we are hoping it just makes its way out on its own.  Fingers crossed.

If you have had a similar experience, you are welcome to share it here.

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27 thoughts on “Broken DexCom Wire

  1. Such good information Lorraine and good to hear from others, so we are all aware. G doesn’t want a Dexcom or CGM yet, but always good to know. Glad you were able to get it out!

  2. Yikes! We’ve had this happen with Cadence as well, a small fragment that I was easily able to remove. The price of flexibility I suppose, good catch!

  3. Is it bad that I’ve been using Dexcom for so long and never really knew to look for the needle when pulling a sensor?? I can certainly say I will be checking from now on. I guess it’s safe to say that I’ve never noticed anything under my skin before, especially since I favor the outer thigh on my right leg. The first time I tried the arm for a site a few weeks ago, I had stomething strange happen. I was getting ??? after insertion which is unusual but I just restarted it once or maybe even twice. When it wasn’t reading I finally pulled it out + there was no wire! I looked around + found it on the floor. Not really sure how that managed to happen but I chalked it up to trying my arm solo for the first time.
    Thank you for putting this out there and letting us all be more informed.

  4. Excellent post with important information! Thanks, Lorraine.

    I always inspect the wire, partly because I’m fascinated by the technology in general and partly because I want to make sure that wire is entirely out.

  5. This scare the bejezus outta me. Js skin is so sensitive. I check after every one I pull out too.

    I also ( dont know if this helps) isntead of pulling sensor off like a site, just ripping off, I left all the edges and pull by transmitter straight out so as not to bend wire while removing. Does that make sense? Not sure if this helps but worth a shot.

    Thanks for posting I hope Dexcom is reading!!

  6. ouch! glad the wire is out, and thanks for the info. my son isn’t on DexCom yet (waiting for it to arrive in Canada!), but i will always check for that when we get it!

  7. I remember reading about that on Laura’s blog — about Nate. So, every since then I’ve been inspecting my wire!

  8. Yep, Joe had a rogue probe once too…and the ??? was registering right before the site removal and ultimate discovery. Great post Lo!

  9. I am so sorry about this. Very sorry.

    But I never cease to be amazed at how much I learn from you. Thank you for what you do. You are a rock for me!

  10. Wow! I remember Laura and Reyna mentioning this, but now that I am hearing more stories it makes me a little anxious. Glad to hear that it has not caused anyone serious problems thus far. Thanks for sharing this, I will take a closer look at Ally’s sensors when I pull them from now on.

  11. Just having wires floating around in the body doesn’t sound good. This information is so imporant, one of the reasons the DOC is so amazing!

  12. Oh my, I’m sure my daughter would freak out if she knew the wire got stuck in there. We just ordered our Dex yesterday. Now I’ll be paranoid about the wire breaking off!

  13. Great post Lorraine. Dexcom makes it sound like such a rare occurrence but I am beginning to think that it happens more frequently. I am worried about it happening to Addison for sure and I will now be extra careful when I take the sensor out and make sure to check that it is intact.

  14. We received a letter from Dexcom when the FDA made them disclose the “issue” last year. I always check to see if the wire came out when I remove because of that letter. Dexcom is such a love hate relationship isn’t it?! I wish they would buck up and pay to make a better system! (guess they’ll have to if they want a piece of that artifical pan-pan!) ((hugs))

  15. Thanks for all the comments, everyone. I want to add that we are not deterred from using DexCom because of this. We appreciate that the tools we have aren’t perfect, but feel the benefits outweigh the shortcomings. Although we look forward to improvements that are to come, we are still happy to have access to the the most current technology available today to help us attain the best control we can.

  16. YIKES!! We have never had a sensor break off… but I do look for it each time to make sure it’s ok when we remove it. I don’t really like the thought of leaving the wire in her body (call me crazy!). Very scary… I’m hoping this issue gets fixed – STAT!

  17. Dexcom has addressed this issue with the next generation sensor waiting on FDA approval.

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  19. I’m 43 years old and a mom of two (18 & 21). I have had my Dexcom since Sept 2011 and I just had this breakage issue happen for the first time in my abdomen. I had the same issues with sensor failure and ??? on the screen. (I got sensor error 0 too). I am online researching a little before I decide to see a doctor about it since I really don’t want this thing left under my skin. I really do love my Dexcom, even with all it’s quirks and occasional hiccups in performance. It has literally saved my life on several occasions due to my problems with nocturnal hypoglycemia. I also use an OmniPod insulin pump and am glad for the technology. Thank you for sharing with these posts. It helps all of us in the diabetic community. Caleb sounds like a strong kid! I’ll bet it’s due to having such a strong mom! :)

    • You are kind! Thanks for coming by to share your story. We feel the same – Dexcom is great, even with its quirks! Always nice to meet a fellow OmniPodder/DexCommer!

  20. I have a 10 year old son who we are now considering an omni pod for ,he was diagnosed a year ago. I love to read your stories so I know what to expect. We had never heard of the Dex before your page.I am really hoping they bring them to Texas soon. Anything to help make the kids life easier all while making sure their diabetes is well controlled.

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