Repeated Dexcom G6 failures

its not a waste if you just call dex tech support and report it. they replace it for free; no questions asked.

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UPDATE: So, after digging around I found an offhand comment somewhere in the Dexcom documentation about moisture affecting sensor readings, which could lead to blackouts until the moisture inside the housing dried out. Anyways, I remembered that a week or two before Samson started using the G6, we had switched him from taking baths to giving him a shower, and his arm usually got a lot more spray on it as a result. Also, he didn’t shower every day, but typically every other day – and we often started getting errors on day two, although sometimes on day one. And then I remembered that in the past with his G5, his sensor would often fail on the day that he would go swimming, or very shortly after.

I had tried everything else I could think of; switching to the stomach, following their rules exactly, using Skintac, not using Skintac, using IV prep, not using IV prep, holding the applicator flush, pinching up, etc. etc. etc…

So while I wasn’t convinced that the showering had anything to do with the issue, I was desperate and willing to try anything. It had to be better than just calling Dexcom every three to five days and having them say “oh it’s just a sensor issue and did you put it on the abdomen and wipe the transmitter with rubbing alcohol?” then hoping the new replacement sensor came before I totally ran out of supplies.

Anyways, about five days ago we finally put a new sensor in that worked initially, and instead of having him shower, we’re having him bathe and making sure he keeps the arm with the sensor totally dry. So far, we haven’t had a single dropped reading. No data blackouts whatsoever, and those typically started by day one or two with all the past readings.

Coincidence? Very possibly so… But on the off chance it’s not, we’re going to ride this sensor as long as possible and make him take baths instead of showers for this sensor and the next one. That one arm may possibly be pretty dirty at the end of this whole experiment though. :rofl:

Of course, we’re only on day five, and though the sensor is going strong so far, it still hasn’t made it the requisite 10 days yet. So the jury is still out for sure. But if it turns out that moisture is the problem, then what the heck do we do? Swearing off showers for the rest of Samson’s life is not really an option (though he would probably not mind.)

Are there any tips to make the sensors EXTRA waterproof or moisture proof?

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This sounds awful. as you know, i am a swimmer. i am in the pool for almost 2 hours a day, 5 days a week, followed by a nice hot shower in the locker room.

i used the dexcom about 3 or 4 years ago and had similar problems as you are describing. i was on the phone with tech support every other day. the belly didnt work for me (i am too thin). i tried my hip, my tushy, etc. nothing worked. i went “out of range” at times where i was carrying the receiver in my back pocket; and, it either wouldnt come back on for hours, or it wouldnt come on again at all. so i gave it my best and decided to just return to (many) finger sticks.

but, then Medicare approved the dexcom 100%, and i decided i had nothing to lose by trying it again. i am on the G5 currently. i havent had many problems at all. i do use the skin tac to keep it on for my swimming, but other than a few “lost signals” i have had few problems. i am currently wearing it on my upper left thigh, which has been a good site for me. ( i tried the back of my left arm as well as my upper back, but didnt get the accuracy i wanted).

all this to say, that maybe you have had terrible luck with the sensors themselves. are you on the G6 now?

(and believe me when i say i have endless compassion for you, b/c although i dont have “water” issues, i have others that carry their own frustrations.)

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Try wrapping his arm in Press-n-Seal?

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Maybe try a waterproof overtape like Opsite Flexifix and tape over the entire sensor instead of cutting out a hole for the transmitter. I think Dexcom also sells or can give you overtape that covers the sensor but its only sticky around the edges (so it forms a kind of “bubble” over the transmitter).

I think when I first tried out Dexcom like 14 years ago we were actually instructed to put their overtape over every sensor because of the moisture. Seems like they should have improved the design by now but maybe not! (though I never taped over my G5 transmitters and didn’t have problems)

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2 posts were split to a new topic: Multiple calibrations needed by G6 sensor on startup

@TiaG, has Dexcom refused to send you replacements for every failure?

We have occasionally had some problems in series with G5 sensors and have sometimes asked for 3 sensors in the same week. They have never given us trouble. I ask every single time, unless it fails the 7th day.

We have gotten replacements every time. They’re great about it and never argue, if if it fails at day 9 and 22 hours. But if the sensor is only lasting 3 or 4 days, it’s still incredibly problematic for us. Samson hates sensor changes and he needs numbing cream so it’s a 3-hour process for us, and having them fail unpredictably while he’s at daycare means I need to take off every time.
The other problem is that this rash of early failures coincided with my husband losing two-months worth of sensors. So we were already running low, we managed to get about a month supply from someone else, but with all the frequent failures we were just always on the brink of running out.

You are using numbing cream still for the G6?

We just put our first G6 on (3 days ago?). My daughter was quite apprehensive as she REALLY does not like the G4/G5 sensor insertions.

I hit the button (on the G6 inserter) and she asked, “Did it go”? She thought maybe it was a “misfire” as she did not feel anything. She was pretty surprised to see that it actually went in.

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My son’s experience with the G6 sensor in the first few weeks is very similar to what you have been experiencing. The first sensor lasted eight days (not bad), the second sensor went for four days, the third sensor lasted for less than a day, sensor four ended without a single bg reading and sensor five ended within twelve hours of insertion. Dexcom has been very good about replacing the failed sensors but didn’t have an answer about what may be causing our failures and just recommended careful transmitter cleaning and moving to more fatty sites on his abdomen. We experimented with the replacement sensors Dexcom mailed to test if we had a bad production batch, but had similar issues with both replacement sensors.

We’re baffled and frustrated as well about our high failure rate, as the G6 insertion is a breeze and so much less stressful for my son when compared to the G5. The first sensor, with eight working days matched with the updated Tandem software, resulted in a significantly tighter bg range, so we’re really hoping that it’s just a bad set of sensors, but I plan to contact Tandem to see if there could be a software issue or perhaps as issue with the iphone app. Wondering if anyone is having similar issues with other pumps, including the Omnipod?

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@bwj261
Have you tried switching to only using the Dexcom G6 receiver as a way to eliminate variables and reduce the possibilities?

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That could be a nice way to start debugging.

Thomas,

Thanks for your suggestion. I plan to test that option this evening when my son comes home from school. Everything so far has been through the app and the Tandem pump’s CGM reporting.

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Hi, I have 4 daughters 22, 17, 13, & 8 using G6 for about 2-4 months. The three older girls connect BT using new iphones; 1-X, 2 7s. But the 8 year old using the ipod + G6 display device goes through more sensors than the older girls. she will get a sensor failure message w/ the prompt to warm up for 3 hours, but I have noticed that it comes back live sooner. The last one I called in had a strange error about re-calibration or re-warm up and the CS person said that was not even an error on the G6 (new call center in Indiana).

The 8 year old also loses and establishes communication on both devices several times a day and I believe that may cause more of a power drain on the transmitter. This is not a problem with the older girls because their phones are always in the transmitters vicinity.

The other issue is a high failure of the sensor coming out of the body before 10 days.
I was told that they are opening new call centers and ramping up production, but I spoke to them late last week to replace several sensors and a failed transmitter. They have a 10 day delay on sensors because of the production back log. I can only get a replacement order for 3 sensors at a time and that call takes 1 plus hour. I am lucky because that is 4x3 not 1x3. One CS person told me to call in every 2 weeks, but I plan to escalate it because it is crazy.

I did speak with a CS software person and I know they have the capability to analyze sensor and transmitter performance. I am not sure how they troubleshoot with you, but I have them go in and look at the account that is having problems.

What are you using when he is at school to transmit to the cloud? the Dexcom apps or what is this openAPS? I am looking to be able to get real-time G6 data to generate IFTTT triggers when BS is low, like large siren that sounds in the 22 year old’s apartment to wake them up. It does not look like the FDA is allowing Dexcom to make the individual’s BS reading available real-time and they are forcing them to do a 3+ hour delay.

Good Luck,
Steve.

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We just called them as Eric has had a number fall off due to adhesive issues – which we’ve never had with the G5 or the G4. I’ve also tried site prep wipes, alcohol, showering, not showering – the adhesive just sucks.

They are shipping us some free site covers as we speak. So call them, and ask them about it! And I really hope you get this sorted out. I’m so sorry, I know what an important the Dexcom is to your family.

Also, I am recovering from foot surgery, and at some point while it was infected – the ER doc wanted me to keep it dry. The solution that I found best was to put my foot in a plastic bag with a paper towel underneath and use Coban, that stretchy adhesive stuff (they have it at the dollar store) that labs use to cover your blood draw site, around the plastic bag a few times. I thought that might work with plastic wrap for your showering excitement!

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Holy cow @stevekrueger I am so sorry that you’re having this problem at scale! And also fascinated, because you have a lot of data points in your house. :wink: I think your plan to escalate and keep on top of them is wise!

Also,welcome to FUD! We like data here! There’s many parents of T1D kids here, and lots of acquired knowledge about T1 in general. I’m glad you found your way here!

Consider adding your info to the welcome post: Welcome, introduce yourself here!

My partner is the diabetic in our house and he’s 39, and uses the G6. He’s had some issues with longevity of the sensors, but our life is a tad nuts right now, so diabetes has taken a bit of a back burner. Dexcom had said that they will send replacement sensors when we’ve called, but we haven’t really been tracking how quickly they failed lately or how quickly they arrive.

I hope that they come up with a solution for all of us soon, because having the Dexcom certainly is handy. I have noticed that the Dexcom share option also goes off-line fairly frequently, and I have to contact Eric to get him to share the data again.

Again, welcome, and thanks for joining us!! We look forward to learning from your family and hopefully FUD can help you too. :grinning:

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Hi there. We are in the 2nd month of G6 with our 5 year old and the first month went well. Now we are seeing dropouts and readings that are not consistent with the glucometer for the 7 to 10 day range. We were calibrating constantly and by Halloween it was totally unreliable. We let it go and relied on the glucometer checks as though she wasn’t wearing her dexcom until the sensor stopped on day 10 in order to fully document the issues for when we talk with her endocrinologist and the dexcom folks. The adhesive was never an issue and stayed put because we trim our Simpatch slightly upon application and then cover it with a new one at the halfway point so there’s a new edge when the edges on the first patch start to peel.

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we’ve gone back to the G5 because we’ve been having so many problems. I wonder if it has to do with geometry. Most of the people I’ve heard having problems are wee little ones; maybe there’s just something about the sensor that is more finicky when there’s not as much tissue to insert into.

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3 posts were split to a new topic: Dexcom G6 bug: you must swap a new sensor in MORE than 7 minutes

@TiaG, sensor problems like that are a pain. I have also been having sensor problems with the G5 for about 6 months: before, I could make them last 10-14 days, but in the past 6 months I have been having a hard time getting them to last just 7 days: we have to ask for a lot of replacements. This is weird because I am not any thinner than I was (although I don’t have a lot of fat).

What I do to avoid problems: I look for the perfect spot every time: as fat as possible. I really pay a lot of attention to exactly where the sensor will go. It helps me not have as many failures. But I still have frequent failures, just not as many as I did for a while. Maybe that can help Samson a little?

I worry about your problem for myself too: if I can’t keep my sensor going for 7 days everytime I think it will be harder for me to keep the G6 going for 10 days. But right now we are stuck with the G5 anyway because we are far from home for many months still. So I hope you will figure out how to deal with it before we get back to the US :smile:

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