Wednesday, July 27, 2011

DexCom and Guardian: Our Comparison

Nablopomo ~Day 27

Yesterday I wrote about our experience with the Medtronic Revel and what we like and don't like about it. I thought today I would go ahead and talk about the two CGM's we have around our house; The DexCom and Medtronic Guardian.

Lovebug has been using the DexCom for a little over a year now.  We love it.  Honestly, I would be LOST with out it. I feel much more comfortable when Lovebug is wearing Dexie, which is 99% of the time!  I don't like to have her not hooked up to it.  It's like my security blanket, especially when she is at school or when someone is watching her. I don't worry about them having to recognize how she acts when she is low. Sometimes she doesn't act any different.  I have tested her before when she is 36 and is acting completely normal. Then she has been 72 and having a complete meltdown. You just never know with Lovebug.   Lovebug doesn't recognize her lows and the DexCom is a HUGE help with that.  I am positive we have saved her from a trip to the hospital or worse because of  her Dexie (our nickname for "her".) While we have had a few band sensors here and there our overall experience has been great.

Princess uses the Medtronic Guardian, compassionately known as Mini around our home.  Mini is very reliable and we love her too.  What we love most is the fact there is no separate unit to carry around like there is with the DexCom.  The CGM is integrated into the pump and that makes things a lot easier.  Especially with Princess who is very petite and skinny.  One of the downsides to the DexCom is having to carry the receiver with you everywhere.  So Lovebug always looks like she is a bit bulky under her clothing.  Drives me crazy but at the same time I really couldn't live with out it.  It's a bit of a sleep and worry saver around here.

On the bright side Animas has a pump out called the Vibe with a integrated CGM using DexCom's technology.  But like everything else out there that is great and cutting edge technology in the world of diabetes care, it's not available in the states yet.  It's only in Europe.  Darn FDA.  I can not wait to get my hands on that pump!  I am hoping that it will be available in the states in the next couple years.  Earlier would be better because then we could do an upgrade and try it for a while before Lovebug's pump warranty is up and we get to purchase another one.  

To be honest, I prefer the DexCom over the Guardian. Not because one is superior to the other because in my opinion the both do a great job and are very accurate. The DexCom is so much simpler to use and the transmitter isn't as bulky as the Guardian's. 

The DexCom insertion is easier. The insertion tool is a all in one combo and very easy to use, you never touch or get close to the insertion needle since it is enclosed.  The Guardian is a little complicated at first, but you get used to it pretty quickly.  I HATE having to pull out the insertion needle. It drives me crazy and still creeps me out just a bit. There are a lot more steps.  Now to the Guardian's defense Medtronic has a smaller sensor out in Europe called the Enlite Sensor and according to my Medtronic rep there is one that is what I call an all in one package like the DexCom.  Now I don't know if that is how the Enlite Sensor works or not but at least it is smaller and there is no need to wear a huge adhesive patch over it like we do now.  It would be an added bonus if the insertion "tool" as I call it was all in one like the DexCom.

The other thing I like about the DexCom is that the sensor is approved for 7 days and the Guardian is only approved for 3 days of wear.(here in the states anyway) In Europe where they have the Enlite Sensor and in Canada and Europe where they can also get the Medtronic Veo, (another pump that I would love to get my hands on!) the sensor is approved for 6 days of wear.

When the DexCom receiver is out of range of the transmitter (meaning they aren't close enough to collect any data) it only takes up to 5 minutes to get a signal and a reading from the receiver.  With the Guardian, if you get away from the sensor for too long (like when swimming) you get a Weak Signal and then eventually what they call a Lost Sensor.  Rather then just getting the pump and sensor back in range of each other you have to tell the pump to locate the sensor again and then it takes about 10-15 minutes before it can find a signal and then you have to enter a BG.  I really wish this feature was a little more user friendly. I have been told ours should only take 5 minutes yet is still doesn't work that way for us.  I'm probably doing some small thing wrong and one of these days I will figure out what the small thing is!

Overall my experience with both of them has been great.  Like I said before, my only reason for preferring the DexCom over the Guardian is the ease of use and smaller transmitter. With that said Medtronic does have those available, just not in the states. Really they are both excellent CGM's and I would recommend both of them.  Just depends on which pump you are using and rather you prefer to have the CGM integrated or not and that, to me, is a very personal preference that you have to consider when you choose a pump.  That is why my girls have two different pumps.  It's not because I prefer one pump over the other. (or one company over another). It's because I did what was best for each kid when the decision had to be made about which pump to choose and I don't second guess myself for a minute.

We didn't know that a CGM would be so valuable to Lovebug or we may have gone another route. We loved the fact that Animas had the remote and (at the time) could deliver smaller doses then the Medtronic.  Those were good fits for us (and Lovebug) and still are, despite the fact that she has to wear her pump and CGM receiver around her waist.

Just like I wouldn't change the fact that I knew I wanted to CGM for Princess right away and I also knew that her carrying around a separate receiver would just not work for her. Like I said before, she is just too petite and too skinny.  So I did my research, I asked a lot of questions and made my choice for her and I wouldn't change a thing.


Shannon@ The New Normal Life said...

this was a wonderful post full of info! thanks so much I really appriciate it!!

Denise aka 'Mom of Bean' said...

Thanks for sharing your experiences with the two different units. It's always great to get information from those who really use the devices!

Denise aka 'Mom of Bean' said...

Thanks for sharing your experiences with the two different units. It's always great to get information from those who really use the devices!

Roselady said...

What a great post. We use Dex, and I always wanted to see a comparison piece that rated the two main cgms. Personally, i love dex, but I'm pleased to read that Medtronic tracks well, too..


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