Medtronic and Dexcom in a good light.

Tuesday’s post covered a couple of potential issues with devices made by Medtronic and Dexcom. And I seem to remember a similar post that included Medtronic a couple of months ago.

Taken just as they are, these posts might give you the impression that I have a problem with Med-T and Dex. Trust me… I do not have an axe to grind. I really do try to be fair and balanced. Not fair and balanced like a certain news organization here in the States that eggs on congress to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (the house voted against it 37 times already), then champions House Speaker John Boehner when he states that “…creating a better environment for jobs has been and will remain our top focus”. But I digress.

What I’d like to do today is talk about the things that I really like about the Medtronic pump I have, and the Dexcom continuous glucose monitor (CGM) I’m using as part of a clinical trial. M’kay?
First, Medtronic.

The single best thing I can say about my MiniMed Paradigm® Revel™ insulin pump is that it’s reliable. It has never once failed me. Oh, I’ve gotten a motor error or two now and then, but I was always able to overcome that without too much difficulty. By “without too much difficulty”, I mean within five minutes.

I’ve also dropped my pump several times over the last three and a half years. I’ve scratched it. I’ve let it get dirtier than a medical device should ever be, and it still keeps going. It’s been on bike rides and runs and through airport security more than a few times. No problems here… still pumping.

And when it comes right down to it, what I want most out of a medical device designed to help keep me alive is reliability. My pump has that in spades.
Now, Dexcom.

There’s a lot to like about the Dexcom G4™ continuous glucose monitor. To begin with, the insertion process is simple, smooth, and often completely painless. For the study I’m participating in, I’m required to wear the sensor on my belly only, so I haven’t had a chance to try it anywhere else. But I really like the fact that I can get the sensor in easily, and that once it’s in I almost never feel it.

Since it’s not integrated with my pump, the Dexcom CGM has its own display device. Much has been written about how 21st century and sexy this little thing is. I mean, it is kinda nice, and it looks a lot like other electronic devices we all carry around every day. But I really dig two things about it. One, it holds a charge for a loooong time (and recharges quickly). And two, the range on the device is pretty good. I’ve gotten into the habit of reminding myself to put it in my pocket every time I stand up now, so I don’t leave it on a table or on my desk at work. But if I’m in a meeting in a big conference room, I can leave it on the conference table and get up to walk around the room without worrying about whether I’ll be out of range. At home, I can sit it on the front steps while I mow the front lawn (I have a small yard, but it’s big enough to be out of range for other CGMs).

Finally, I like the Dexcom Studio™ software used to track all of the data from the CGM. Lots of user-friendly, understandable graphs, charts, and other features that help me understand my glucose trends better. I could go into detail, but if you’re really interested in finding out more about it, you should probably check out the information on the Dexcom website.

I haven’t tried a lot of continuous glucose monitors (just Dexcom and Medtronic), but my impression of the Dexcom G4™ is that it’s the Cadillac of CGMs right now. If you disagree, feel free to let me know why by leaving a comment.
So you see, it’s not all bad. If you think about where we were twenty years ago, there really has been a lot of hard work done and progress made on insulin pumps and CGMs. I hope that in future years, Medtronic and Dexcom will be able to keep the best features of their current products, and improve and enhance the worst. Our lives, and the quality of our lives, depend on it.

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  • fifteenwaitfifteen  On June 20, 2013 at 10:03 am

    I am also a big fan of Medtronic and Dexcom. I wish Medtronic would just give up on their own CGM and work to integrate with Dexcom. Being able to wear a sensor for 14+ days is sooooooo worth it for me, and only being able to wear the Medtronic one for 3-5 days is NOT.


  • Scott E  On June 20, 2013 at 11:58 am

    Great post. Sometimes we (ok, I) tend to come across as overly critical, but there are some great things that each of our devices have, and we’d absolutely miss those features if they were gone. They need to be heralded as well.


  • fifteenwaitfifteen  On June 20, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    Scott – yes, what you said, too 🙂


  • Kelley  On June 28, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    Hey Scott, does the Dexcom CGM link to the Medtronic pump? Or do you have to upload two different sets of data to your computer?


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