Initial user review of the Minimed 530G system. Thoughts and questions

So last Tuesday I took delivery of my new Minimed 530G "artificial pancreas" system. For the past 1.5 years I had been using a Minimed Paradigm pump in conjunction with a Dexcom Platinum G4 CGM, and I was excited to not only have one less item to carry (since the CGM is integrated into the pump in the 530G), but also to have features like the Treshhold Suspend which can help keep you from going seriously low - in theory.

I've now been using the system for five days, and while the pump works fine (just like the Paradigms), I am about to give up on the integrated CGM. Here are the issues that I've noticed in the past five days, and I am hoping that anyone else out there with experience can tell me whether this is normal, or add feedback, or just give me ANY thoughts...

  1. Biggest issue is accuracy. The Enlite sensors just don't seem to have it. Like horribly wrong. Frequently. As an example, this morning it gave me a low warning (>60 mg/dl), so I took a finger stick to check. My bs by that? Only 234. And this isn't a one time off issue. It happens to me ALL the time. Maybe twice or three times in one and half years did I have this kind of issue with the Dexcom, whereas I've now had it like 5 times in 5 days with the Enlite sensor.
  2. Trending. I find this feature extremely useful in a CGM as it helps me predict where my bs is going to go. That being said (and probably as a result of poor accuracy), the Enlite/530G does a poor job of letting me know what is going on. There are so many bloody alarms that I'm starting to ignore them. It is nice that the 530G has an alarm for expecting to go high or low before you actually do, but when that alarm isn't based on any sort of reality, its significantly less helpful.
  3. Endurance. The Enlite sensor last 6 days as opposed to 7 for the Dexcom G4.The Enlite transmitter has to be recharged frequently from a battery pack. This was okay when I thought it meant that it would last a very long time, but Minimed only guarantees the transmitter for 6 months, which is exactly the same as the Dexcom which does not require any recharging.
  4. Range. The Enlite has an effective range of 6 feet compared to the G4 which has a range of about 20 feet.
  5. Burst mode. The Enlite stores bs level data for 40 minutes while out of range and transmits it to the CGM/pump when back in range. Dexcom does not do this. You're either in range or not.
  6. Style. OK, so this is marginally petty, but it matters to some people. The 530G is still rocking the 80's pager look. Its big. It's heavy. It's monochrome. Basically its ugly. Still having buttons helps when I want to bolus by feel, but a touch-screen pump would look like my phone and not call much attention to itself.

I have been a Minimed pump user for over 10 years and have alway been amazed at how good their customer service has been, but I find myself incredibly disappointed overall with both the 530G and the Enlite sensor system. The feedback I have gotten from Minimed (both regional reps and tech support) is they don't understand why I am having issues. Which is less than comforting. They've really been zero help, and while I will give the 530G system a full two week trial, I honestly believe that I am going to return it, switch back to my Dexcom CGM, AND look at a new pump company.

Overall thoughts on the 530G system? Give it a miss. The idea is great, but in addition to not working as advertised for me, its gross inaccuracy is inexcusably dangerous.

If anyone has has similar issues and resolved them, please let me know. I really do want this system to work.

Well I do have the 530g but I have not got the chance to use it, as I'm new to pumping and they're (understandably...) making me take a class so it's gonna sit in my living room in a box until April 21st.

But this is what I've been told about the enlite: Work with it. Try putting the sensors in different places, calibrate it very carefully (my CDE says the minimed cgm is very picky on how you calibrate, compared to the dexcom which is the only good thing my cde said about the dex...lol) . It takes weeks to get used to, granted? If after much longer than a few weeks if it still doesn't work out for you , then ditching it isn't a bad idea.

I personally plan to give the enlite a few months but if I don't like it, I will ditch it as long as they let me keep the pump itself and rely on the finger sticks as that has never been a problem to me at all and that's what I honestly wanted anyway (A pump...and just that) .

I hear you regarding updating pumps to look like a phone. Aside from their CGM, a few cosmetic changes, and smaller 0.025 basal increment, it is surprising how little the medtronic design has changed over the years. But the one thing I really like about medtronic (just the pump, NOT the cgm) is the super efficient Express Bolus button.

Hello. I have been pumping with Medtronic for close to seven years and recently switched to the 503G with Enlite. I have been using the system since October 16, 2013. I am also a MiniMed Ambassador willing to share my personal experiences to help others.

I absolutely love the new system. It has provided me with better control with my sugar levels. I have been able to lower and maintain my A1c into the 6 range since I started. Prior to the 530G with Enlite, I always was in the 7 range.

The first week or so, I did have a lot of alarms and some inaccuracies between the sensor and finger sticks. I needed to find better sites on my abdomen to better avoid any scar tissue. (I am sure there is a bunch after 7 years of pumping.) Once I started a better rotation on my abdomen, the accuracy improved greatly for me. Since pumping, I have also learned that using technology close to your sites can cause for inaccurate readings and "weak signals." I am not sure if this is happening for you, but it did for me in my early pumping years.

Again, 503G with Enlite has helped me since I made the shift and provided me better control.

I hope this helps.

In response to my post "Love MiniMed Pump, Can't Stand Enlite CGM"...

Firstly, thanks so much for your response to my discussion!
I agree with you completely, especially regarding ACCURACY. I sat with my endocrinologist today to make adjustments with my pump because according to my sensor and sometimes finger sticks, I bottom out early morning. I use an apple computer, there is no MyCareLink version for my version of iOS. Unfortunately I have to visit my doctors office to upload MyCareLink/ Results. When reading my results for sensor readings and looking at my actual glucometer, we found that the sensor does not correlate with my finger stick readings AT ALL. Inaccuracy is scary when being treated with any type of medical device. On this past Friday I had gone to my Endo to adjust my basal rate, he had been adjusting my basal according to MyCareLink... However, today he was disappointed in the accuracy of the sensor and how there was barely any correlation to an actual finger stick.

Tomorrow I will be calling Medtronic and discussing this issue. Inaccuracy is something I barely ever dealt with on the Dexcom 4g Sensor. My only concern is the price. My insurance company covers a lot of the cost for my MiniMed Pump & Transmitter... However I do have a pricey copay for the sensors.The Dexcom 4g Starter kit was not fully covered by my insurance company and extremely expensive. I also could not purchase all of my supplies through that company, I had to go through a distributor.

Keep me updated! I'd like to know if this system eventually begins to work out for you, or if you go back to Dexcom.

I've been using the 530G with Enlite since November. (In the interest of full disclosure, I do blog and consult for Medtronic, but I'm not a Medtronic employee and I always give my honest opinions.) I think there is a pretty big learning curve with this new system - which I wasn't prepare for. During my first two weeks, I hated it. I had worn the Sof-Sensor for about 6 years and it took me a while to realize I needed to give myself time to learn the ins and outs of Enlite, just as I had with Sof-Sensor.

During those first few weeks, I was getting very inaccurate readings for the first 24 - 48 hours. But as others have suggested, moving to a different spot on my abdomen turned things around for me. I was using the outer edge of the suggested insertion area, and my sensor would feel inflamed and sore for the first couple of days. Now I insert them more towards my middle abdomen, and have found a sweet spot that sits just between my underwear band and my pants waste-band. Now I see very accurate numbers right from the start. Yes, once in a while I get a number outside of the 20% accuracy range, but most of the time sensor is quite close to the number on my meter. So maybe just inserting your sensor an inch or two over will fix the problem for you too!

I definitely recommend calling the Help Line any time you have a questions / problems. They gave me a lot of good tips during my first few months while I was still trying to get used to the system. Perhaps they can help you fine-tune your alarms too. Most of the alarms are adjustable, so they may be able to work with you to set the alarms to a frequency that works for you.

As for the Range issue - I'm with you there!! That is probably one of my few complaints, the range isn't very good. I just try to keep my pump clipped on the same side of my body as my sensor and then it isn't an issue. However it would be nice if there was greater range.

Please keep us posted on how things are going!

UPDATE:

OK. I've been using the Enlite now for a week and it has gotten better, but I am still rebelling at the idea that it should take weeks to get the sensor to work instead of right out of the box.

Here are my updated thoughts on the 530G system vs. Dexcom G4 and pump:

  1. Range: This really bothers me with the Enlite. The range just sucks. If you are wearing the pump on the other side of your body, you can get a "weak signal" alarm. There is no real excuse for this. Dexcom G4? No problems. You can easily be up to 10 feet away. Winner? Dexcom G4.
  2. Ease of use: While it is nice to have a spring-loaded inserter for the Enlite, it is proving to be a real pain in terms of removing the sensor from the inserter. You almost rip the sensor out each time. Too complex. Dexcom G4? Manual insertion but very easy to remove. Winner? Dexcom G4.
  3. Burst mode: The Enlite has it. Will store up to 40 minutes worth of BG data when out of range of the receiver and then transmit when back in range. Dexcom G4? Nope. Either in or out of range. Winner? Enlite System

This is an aside from the CGM side of things, but I find myself very disappointed in the styling of the 530G as well. I hadn't realized how much I'd become used to a color screen. And honestly while I know the technology to incorporate the CGM with the pump is new, how hard would it have been to give us at least a color screen?

Overall opinion? I have to say the Dexcom G4 is just a better product. Easier to use and get functional. The down side is of course that you're carrying yet another thing in your pocket or purse. But, since it has a good range on it, it can be done inconspicuously. The idea of integrating pump and CGM into a single unit is one who's time has come, it is just unfortunate that Minimed has done such a poor job of making it happen.