My Medtronic Pump

I have been using a Medtronic Minimed 715 insulin pump for the last 5.5 years. I believe the warranty is only for 3 or 4 years, which means if mine breaks now I need to pay for a new one (insurance copay). If it was under warranty I would probably be able to get a new one from Medtronic at zero cost. The Rep for Medtronic told me that it’s beneficial to have the pump under warranty in the event it breaks I can get a new one a little quicker due to paperwork that will be needed. I get that and haven’t wanted to spend the money on a new pump since mine works perfectly fine and it’s over a grand for a new one.

Decision

I am starting to plan for 2012 and potentially using my Flexible Spending account to get a new pump. I’ve really been thinking through what pump I want to get and it hasn’t been easy. For the record, I’m still undecided and don’t know which way I will go at this point. Here are the features that I like/dislike about each that are factoring into my decision.

Animas Ping

I’ve really been looking hard at the Ping. The big features I like about the Ping is that A) It’s waterproof – like really waterproof to the point where I could jump in a pool fully submerged without issue. B) It’s pretty cool looking with a color screen (lower on my priority list) and finally C) They are working on integration with DexCom a leader in the continuous glucose monitor (CGM) market. I might take the plunge down the road on a CGM and I think I would prefer a Dexcom over the Medtronic CGM.

I know it sounds weird, but the waterproof feature is almost a game-changer for me. I don’t go on vacation or to the pool often, but it would be SO NICE to not have to disconnect my infusion set each time I went in the pool. That also means more checking, tweaking of bolus/basal for time disconnected. The waterproof feature is big to me. Note, the Medtronic Rep made a good point to combat the fact that their pump is NOT waterproof. He said, do you really want to take the chance with a $6,000 medical device? They focus on features that will help patients manage their diabetes versus making it waterproof.

Medtronic Revel

Now with Medtronic, I get a company that is focused and built a strong reputation with it’s insulin pump. My pump has worked very well for 5+ years and when I did have an issue, Medtronic responded quickly and resolved the situation perfectly. I also have CareLink, my web-based program that has tracked my diabetes data for a long time now and works well. My doctor likes the reports it produces and I like studying them for potential changes.

I have all the infusion sets and reservoirs that are for Medtronic, which isn’t a huge issue but a pain for timing a change. The downside is that the Revel and CGM from Medtronic is not as good as the Dexcom from what I’ve heard. They are working on changes and making the sensor more comfortable for insertion, but not there yet. With a somewhat lean body type and goal of getting leaner, the size of the needle can be an issue.

Summary

As I previously wrote, it’s difficult to get an unbiased comparison from a pump manufacturer. This is a pretty tough decision because it’s one I will have to live with for probably at least 5 more years. Which company do I think will be better over those 5 years, what product will have better support and what will I be happier with? Basically I am weighing the waterproof and change aspect of the Animas Ping against the proven support and product quality of Medtronic. It’s a tough decision that I will continue to think through over the coming months.

Ping
+ Waterproof, CGM Integration coming and looks

– Untested/unknown customer support, change from what I’m use to, 2 devices if I want a CGM now

Revel
+ Proven performance, customer support, Carelink reporting, CGM integrated with pump

– Not waterproof, CGM inferior

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