CGM Systems: Features in Common

Like insulin pumps, continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) systems all have certain basic properties in common (see below).  But each also has unique features that make them better choices for certain individuals.

  • System includes a receiver/display, transmitter, and subcutaneous sensor.
  • Wireless system; radio signals utilized.
  • Waterproof sensors/transmitters (receiver/display not waterproof).
  • Require periodic calibration with fingerstick blood glucose readings.
  • Customizable alarms for high/low glucose values.
  • Multiple on-screen trend graphs.
  • Arrows indicate rate & direction of BG change
  • Mechanical device used to insert sensors.
  • Sensors typically re-usable; sensor life varies from person to person.
  • Warmup period at beginning of sensor session.
  • Some lag time between blood glucose (fingerstick) and subcutaneous glucose (sensor) values.
  • Insurance coverage varies from plan to plan.
  • Minimal skin irritation, even with prolonged sensor life.

CGM  Systems:  Pros & Cons

Dexcom G4 Platinum

Dexcom G4 with transmitter

Medtronic 530G With EnliteMiniMed530G with sensor

 

 PROS 
  • Full-color, high-contrast display
  • Pronounced alerts/alarms
  • Very good accuracy
  • Long transmitter range
  • Transmitter does not require charging
  • Event markers display on graphs when downloading
  • Sensor life averages 12-14 days
  • May be calibrated at any time
  • Simplicity of daily use
  • Display integrated into pump screen
  • Universally-accessible download software
  • Software integrates pump, meter and CGM data
  • Transmitter stores up to 40 minutes of data (if out of range)
  • Features “predictive” high/low alerts and low-glucose basal insulin suspension
 CONS 
  • Must carry an extra device (receiver/display)
  • Download software works on PCs only
  • Software does not integrate with data from other devices
  • Receiver requires charging 1-2x/week
  • Small, low-contrast display
  • Alarms may be hard to hear/feel
  • Short transmitter range
  • Fair accuracy
  • Transmitter requires weekly charging
  • Extra adhesive required to secure sensor to skin

©2014, Gary Scheiner MS, CDE, Integrated Diabetes Services
www.integrateddiabetes.com


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