CGM: we’re live with Animas/Dexcom

pink-vibe-sniggerOn Wednesday last week, Amy fitted her own Dexcom CGM for the first time, going live with something she’d (and we’d) been looking forward too for almost a year, 363 days in fact since she got her pump on 20th June 2013.

It was back in March that Animas announced that they had got the licence to sell Dexcom kit for use by kids aged 2-18 but communications dried up and on an off-chance call to them back in May I managed to purchase the kit required: 4 sensors and 1 transmitter at a cost of £500. Typically since we’d been waiting the price had gone up £50. We could have purchased CGM through another reseller for more money and got it a year ago but I wanted the support from two important people, our clinic and Animas. Ultimately I feel this was worth waiting for but I wonder how much support we’ll actually need.

Trying to be prepared I researched what else we might need for the CGM and purchased some funky pink Camo Rock Tape (thanks Rachel), some SkinTac (thanks Carolyn/Shaun) and importantly TacAway too. Another parent suggested that we start without using these things as we needed to make sure Amy wasn’t allergic or sensitive to the Dexcom adhesive.

Amy with new sensorFitting day arrived and all four of us went to meet our rep Emma at the hospital, along with 2 DSNs and a student nurse. As well as being the first people at clinic to have an Animas Vibe it turns out we’re the first to get Dexcom too, so our DSNs were keen to find out all about it. It’s great to have their support.

Emma explained about the kit, showing demo pumps and we went through our expectations of CGM, with Amy saying all the things Emma and the DSNs wanted to hear (spot patterns, basal checking, alerting). Normally Emma would show people some videos about sensor insertion but Amy and I had already watched the great sensor insertion videos by Diabetic Danicaarm insertion video here – so we skipped that part.

With a demo/fake sensor inserter Emma went through the routine slowly for all to see. Within minutes Amy was doing it although as it was the first time she asked Jane to do the initial plunger part. With the transmitter clipped in to the sensor Amy set up her pump to recognise the transmitter and all the other CGM settings (alerts, sounds, ranges).

Amy said the the sensor insertion was easy and painless, although she could feel something it wasn’t painful.

Then it was a case of waiting for two hours until it was time to do the two start up calibration blood checks, something you only do each time you change the sensor. Whilst waiting the Vibe gives you a count down meter which Amy kept checking during the next two hours, keen to calibrate and see her BGs on the screen. The two hour mark came just as we were waiting for the Park&Ride bus to turn up; Amy got out her meter, “no Amy let’s wait til we’re back in the car”. But Amy didn’t wait, she did the tests on the bus and smiled at seeing her glucose level on the screen.

One of the reasons for getting CGM was to make sure Amy’s basal profile was correct whilst asleep, how about this for starters (although I doubt it will stay this good):
A sleeping teenager's basal profile

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3 Responses to CGM: we’re live with Animas/Dexcom

  1. Debbie Reekie says:

    Hello Kevin – there is a question for you at the end of this essay!
    I’m getting a bit bogged down with trying to decide what to do regarding pumps. We have a dexcom g4 and we would like one of our sons to go on a pump. He is also keen. A year ago after reading your analysis I was keen on the Animas. Obviously there have been developments to other pumps since but I still like the idea of the animas as it has been tried and tested. We are nowhere near as I.T. competent as you and not sure if nightscout and xdrip are for us yet. The idea is brilliant though. I’m just looking for a good pump. Lots of people seem happy with it. A question for you – are you and Amy still happy with it or do you have eyes for other pumps?! Our son is 8 – and doesn’t currently do his own injections. (His brother is a competent MDI – at the moment.) Thanks, Debbie.

    • Kev says:

      Hi Debbie, the Vibe works very well for Amy, neither of us are thinking about any other pump for when she renews in 2017, it will hopefully still be the Animas Vibe if it’s still around. Even if we were forced to take a different pump I think we would continue with Dexcom G4 due to Nightscout, which is used mainly for Amy to have her BGs on her Pebble watch, rather than me remotely monitoring.
      At the end of the day a pump pumps insulin and they all seem to do that effectively, they all have bolus calculators, they all allow you to fine tune the basal rate, they all do temporary basals. The Insight’s issues would worry me if we were forced to switch to that; if we were forced to take the 640G we couldn’t afford to switch to Enlites. The Dana pump does kind of interest me for other reasons.

      • Debbie Reekie says:

        Thanks Kev. Things are moving fast with things like the libre (and possible funding) and positives about the medtronic 640G but as we’ve invested in the dexcom (and have been happy with its accuracy) the animas seems a good choice. Just need to convince our team now!

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