Insulin Pump for International Travel - 670g vs. T-Slim

Hi everyone - I joined the forum today, I’m T1D currently using an Animas Ping.With Animas exiting, I’ve been reading posts for months trying to decide whether to go with the Medtronic 670g or the T-Slim (thank goodness for forums like this! so helpful!) .

One of my #1 reasons for getting a pump is to have good control for international travel, I originally went with the Ping because I loved it and Animas/ J&J had amazing global support. They provided loaner pumps, were able to FedEx across the globe during emergencies, etc. Per an earlier post, I’m thinking I want the T-Slim but have a few questions.

  1. I recently read a news item where it said the Medtronic 670g button can get “stuck” with a sudden change of air pressure preventing bolus delivery so I’m a bit concerned since I fly a lot. Has anyone experienced this? Bolusing during flight is the main thing I need the pump for, so concerned if this is common?
    http://www.startribune.com/fda-issues-alert-on-medtronic-insulin-pumps/512558032/

  2. Does anyone have any experience with traveling abroad (outside the U.S) with the Tandem TSlim where you needed support? How did it go? Just wanting to understand what a small company support is like vs. big global Medtronic support

Thanks for the help!

We spent 6 weeks in Europe for our Honeymoon a few years. It never crossed my mind to get a loaner pump from Tandem. I had zero problems with it. We’ll be in Maui for three weeks in August, I have no concerns about the pump. As long as the country you’re staying in has Fedex/UPS, there’s no reason Tandem should not be able to get a replacement pump to you if needed. Just plan ahead for every contingency. I’ve had a few pumps replaced by Tandem over the years without issue. I would not worry about international travel interfering with getting a pump replaced.

I have the T-slim and travel overseas all the time. I do not think the company matters for emergencies. All you need is access to Fedex. I have not ever had a pump issue when traveling so I cannot speak to that, but I always pack my spare/expired pump and supplies. I assume that the replacement may take 2 days at the most to get to me. You still have a ping and you can bring that as an emergency backup until you receive the replacement.

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@Jolene7. If it helps to ease your mind, Tandem will issue you a loaner pump to take on your travels. You have 7 extra days to return it after you get home. As long as the pump wasn’t used, you won’t pay for it. If you have a pump failure, call Tandem 24\7 and they will authorize use of the loaner so you don’t incur any fees. Much better than waiting 24 hours for FedEx\UPS to arrive.

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The Medtronic button error issues, (it happened to me on a 630g) is an older warning. All of them received after approximately June 2018 should not be impacted. My button issue occurred during the first half of 2017 and the replacement was not impacted nor has the 670G I am using.

Note: I am a Medtronic ambassador. My opinions are my own. They did not pay me to say nice things about Medtronic devices or the company. In fact, they do not pay me at all. OK, they sent me a shirt and a cup but even I am more expensive than that.

The FDA has the dates listed as:
Date Initiated by Firm, May 08, 2017
Create Date, July 09, 2019
Quantity in Commerce, 117,239 pump
Manufacturer Reason for Recall, Medtronic MiniMed is recalling the MiniMed 600 series insulin pump because it may become temporarily stuck, and the keypad becomes unresponsive.
FDA Determined Cause, Device Design
Product, MiniMed 670G Insulin Infusion Pump, Catalog No. MMT-1580, MMT-1780, MMT-1782, MMT-1760.

My note: Medtronic and the FDA are very specifically talking about the entire 600 series and distinctly identifying and including the 670 model in that list.

If there is a link which states a device design correction was implemented in June 2018 from either Medtronic or the FDA that would be interesting to read.

I have not read anywhere that the issue has been corrected. Perhaps I simply did not know where to go to find this information.

@El_Ver @mindawhen @Jason99 - Thank you for the helpful info on Tandem! When I called them previously on this topic, they didn’t give me this info on Fedex/ UPS + possibility of loaner or replacement pump if anything goes wrong, so glad to hear this. I will call them again to confirm. Much appreciated

@Rphil2 @Tim35 Thank you both for the Medtronic button error comments. It does seem to affect the 670gs. I also posted this same question on another forum and someone responded that the button issue can be dealt with by opening the battery compartment to release pressure (though it does set off a rather loud alarm). I don’t want to have to deal with concerns like this on a 12 hour long-haul flight, so will definitely consider using a backup method as well if I do end up going with the 670g. Still undecided : ) but TSlim is looking a bit more appealing right now. Thanks again!

I was in Paris last month for the Women’s World Cup! Great time was had!
I really do love traveling with a pump! All I do is change the time on the pump so basal rates just switch to my new timeline vs trying to handle MDI with large time changes.
I also have never gotten a loaner when traveling but most of my trips are no longer than a week and I can handle no pump with injections if push came to shove.
The only thing I found interesting is that baggage claim low that many of us have every time we fly. It was suggested to disconnect the pump until the get to flying altitude due to (science thing) gas in liquid forming bubbles. So I did disconnect both before take off and before landing and did indeed see an air bubble in the line. I can’t remember where I saw this report. It was a blog I read awhile back. But something to think about. Like we don’t have enough to think about with our daily diabetes issues!

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@Jolene7 Tandem references a loaner pump on their FAQs. You should be able to get additional info from Tandem by referencing the FAQs. Scroll down to the Metal Detector/Full body scanner travel section of the page.

https://www.tandemdiabetes.com/support/faq

That’s interesting, @Sally7 I don’t travel much at all, but recently flew to Florida with an OmniPod. No one said anything about that and now I don’t recall how my numbers were. I’ll keep this little tidbit in my mind though. Thanks!

Here is the link to the official Medtronic letter sent in September 2018 about the issue.

A few issues are addressed int he letter.

First the letter is dated September 2018. I have not found the exact pump numbers that are impacted, but I know when I called they said it was an early manufacturing issue. It actually happens because of the size of the buttons (that part I do not understand). Yes the current advice is more recent but it is a duplicate of the one issued in 2018. I can only speculate that the issue was readdressed since it is possible that pumps manufactured earlier may still be in the warehouse awaiting delivery, but that is just speculation.

It is an extremely rare occurrence. I had it in the 630G i had in 2017 but not the 670g I have worn since may of 2017. Still who knows what might have been left in the warehouses and if a similar issue might happen even if it has never happened to me.

It is easily corrected. In fact it almost always self corrects in a matter of minutes. However, if it does not opening the battery cap or replacing the battery does clear the issue. Now to be fair, I hate the sound when i take the cap off at home let alone on an airplane. So I get it. In fact removing the battery restarted my 630G pump I just had no idea what was going on and neither did Medtronc so they sent me a new one.

Now, when I saw the notice last month I caught me by surprise. i am due to fly to Korea in December (dont judge), and i thought oh wow I better call Medtornic and exchange my pump. Then I read the full notice and realized what it is and I let it go.

Note: I am a Medtronic ambassador. My opinions are my own. They did not pay me to say nice things about Medtronic devices or the company. In fact, they do not pay me at all. OK, they sent me a shirt and a cup but even I am more expensive than that.

@Rphil2 Thanks so much for tracking this down! Very helpful!

The Australian Tandem distributor AMSL don’t offer rental of loaner pumps (i.e. to carry as a spare), and won’t ship replacements for malfunctioning pumps internationally. That’s what the rep told me when my son got his X2 in April anyhow.

I traveled to UK a couple of years back with my daughter who has T1. She has the T-slim. Had loaner pump and needed it - as her main one stopped working! Called support, talked to someone who walked us through the switching it out, and all was good.

Getting through customs can be a hassle. The pump company will want TSA to put a sticker on to indicate that the package was opened for security check and not some other use. This can take some explaining and often a TSA supervisor has to be called over. But it’s worked out.

Good luck!

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I believe this is the Medtronic loaner program description.

I feel more certain this is the current loaner application.

https://www.diabetes.shop/Transformer_Form_Travel_Loaner

Note: I am a Medtronic ambassador. My opinions are my own. They did not pay me to say nice things about Medtronic devices or the company. In fact, they do not pay me at all. OK, they sent me a shirt and a cup but even I am more expensive than that.

Sorry for the late reply, just returned from international trip! : ) I used Tresiba for basal + old Animas Ping for bolus and corrections + Dexcom G6 + Humalog junior pen for backup for now. Thanks everyone for the super helpful replies - much appreciated

There are recent posts on Australian T-slib Facebook group suggesting that this policy has now changed and loan pumps are available.