More Diabetes Tech

For over the past two weeks I have been wearing more forms of diabetes technology. What’s pictured below is me wearing the Medtronic 530g pump. I also wore the Enlite sensor which is not pictured.

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Again I wore the pump with saline instead of insulin. I also wore the pump with the Quick Set Infusion set.

I wear these products for several reasons: a) to see what they feel like b) to get first hand exposure to the technology versus a one time training c) to be able to better describe to people what works and what does not
d) and also to experience the idiosyncrasies of each device.

So the really cool thing about this pump is it is technically artificial pancreas technology. The Enlite sensor monitors interstitial glucose levels and communicates these to the pump that is delivering insulin. The sensor itself needs to be calibrated at least twice a day and no more than four times per day. This can be done on any meter and manually entered into the pump. Or the Bayer Contour Next link- which can be synced to the pump.

The pump is kind of the “main frame” in all of this. It delivers the insulin but also communicates with the Enlite sensor and meter.

I will say I probably spoiled myself by wearing the Omnipod first – because going from a tubing free pump to a pump that was substantially larger and had tubing. It was an adjustment but it wasn’t bad. Sleeping was a bit difficult the first night because I put it in my bra and slept on my stomach. But following nights I clipped the pump to my shorts and it wasn’t bad. Same for exercising – I would remove the clip and put it in a pocket for running or leave the clip on and clip it it to my shorts for lifting.

The most unique feature of this pump and of all pumps out right now is a feature called threshold suspend. So part of the programming of this pump and sensor is setting low and high alerts. So hypothetically I set my lie alert at 65. That means when my interstitial glucose hits 65 the pump will alarm. Threshold suspend should be set lower than the low alert- so in this case 55. That means if you hit 55 the pump will alarm like crazy and suspend all insulin infusing into you from the pump- until you clear the alarm.

Many times it is the complications of high blood sugars in diabetes that are discussed. One complication that can arise is hypoglycemia unawareness- which is exactly what it sounds like- not being able to tell when your blood sugars are falling. And being unaware until it is dangerously too late: falling unconscious, seizures etc.

Right now in the US this is the only pump/sensor combo that does the threshold suspend. It’s a very exciting advancement in technology – the Animas Vibe is another pump and sensor combo that is also on the market but does not have the suspend feature, but has a lot of its own great features.

Overall the pump was big-but not too bulky, the features make up for the fact that it can be a little on the bulkier side. The sensor is also comfortable to wear too- it’s small. One idiosyncrasy is the actual pump needs to be very close to the sensor (6ft max) otherwise it will alarm and lose its connection to the sensor (if you were to disconnect from the pump)- so the pump regardless needs to remain close.

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