Latest on airport scanners etc

I’ve searched the topic and I found a bit of fairly recent info but nothing really recent. So I’ll ask an asked-and-answered question and risk your wrath for so doing! :smile:

I wear a Dexcom G6 and a Tslim pump. I’ll have a spare G6 but not a xmtr and spare pump infusion sets and reservoirs.

I’ll be flying soon for the first time since before Covid in 2019, so I’m out of touch with how TSA works these days, although I’ve had all the usual experiences with them in the past. I do have TSA pre check.

I’ve reviewed both device manuals. I still want to hear from users with recent experience.

In the past I’ve taken my pump off and handed it and my spare sensors to a human outside the scanners of all types and then walked through wherever they direct me and put up with a pat down and a hand swipe. Is this still the most sensible thing to do?

I don’t worry about my pump or sensors going through the scanner. I just take the pump off and throw it in the bin with my cell phone and other odds & ends and leave the spare sensors in my carry on bag. I’ve never had a problem. FWIW I have a Medtronic 780 with Guardian 4 sensors.

Recently I flew out of LAX and did all the usual TSA stuff. I had all my diabetic supplies in one bag and handed it to the agent for manual scan. I notified the agent about my Dexcom and went thru the manual pat down procedure. It ended up taking 20 minutes because my insulin syringes triggered an alarm and they had to call a supervisor to release my stuff. The next week when coming home from Buffalo I decided to try an experiment. I put all of my diabetic stuff in my carry on case and sent it thru the xray machine. I told the agent about my CGM and he told me that the machine would not bother it. So I went thru the body scanner. The machines did not effect any of my equipment and it has all worked fine since with no problems. The only problem we had in Buffalo was my wife accidently left a jar of peanut butter in her carry on and got caught! (Ha Ha)

I used to travel quite a bit and initially I requested hand checks for both spare Dexcom sensors and my pump (after removing it).

The sensors were frequently a problem, in Boston, overseas, and many federal buildings. I don’t know if it’s the size of the G6 applicator that triggers their alarm bells or the fact that Dexcom’s packaging says nothing about avoiding X-rays. TSA agents/airport security/guards often just weren’t willing to hand screen them. Boston in particular seemed to have the whole “go wait over there until you miss your flight” routine down pretty well. It also wasn’t clear to me why the CGM sensors would be X-ray sensitive, so I started putting them through the X-ray machine. I’ve kept track of how they subsequently performed and I couldn’t find any difference between the sensors that went through an X-ray (sometimes multiple times) and those that didn’t.

I’ve never had push-back when requesting that my pump be hand screened and I can see how X-rays could muck up the electronics (I spent my career working on leading edge integrated circuits), so I continue to ask for that to be hand screened.

Same here. I used to have the sensors hand checked but then I stopped with no ill effects. They go through the luggage scanner in my carry on.

I also go through the body scanner thing with my pump in my hand, though the last time I flew through LaGuardia (in May) they told me that the policy had changed and now I needed to be hand checked. It was all pretty quick, but I’ve had other experiences where it felt like they left me standing to one side waiting for someone to be available for quite a while — like 10 minutes, maybe — which feels like a lot when no one will look at you or let you know what the hold up is.

As best as I can tell the whole mystery of what to do with medical devices is caused by each airport security checkpoint using a different technology/brand/model body scanner or x-ray machine. There’s no formal standards for the machines. Medical device manufactures have no way to test against all the random stuff found at a checkpoint.

Then each airport, I don’t fly enough to know if it varies by checkpoint, implements policies in slightly different ways. Some places you don’t have to take off shoes. Others you can leave your belt on. So the thing to expect is inconsistency.

I fly often, wearing both an OmniPod 5 and a G6 CGM. I walk through the x-rays wearing both with no problems. I also have sent both sensors and my OmniPod 5 pumps (for those who are wondering) through the x-rays in my carry-on luggage with no problems whatsoever. I have Pre-TSA, and the only time I set the alarm off was when I forgot to remove my Apple watch when going through! So many of those “no x-ray” warnings seem to be the manufacturers just covering their behinds from possible lawsuits should anything happen.

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After Covid, I discovered that my new Libre 2 sensors don’t always survive walking through a scanner. Best to always ask for the pat down.

I do the same thing. I’ve been wearing Dexcom sensors and transmitters for years and always walked right through whatever I had to walk through. Extra sensors and transmitters were always packed in a carry-on bag that went through scanners. I’ve never had a problem with efficacy or with being stopped. I’ve been using the G7 for a while now too, and again I’ve not had any problems. I never tell the TSA that I wear a CGM or that I have pens and needles in carry-on, and I think once maybe twice I was asked and explained. There was never an issue.

Per Dexcom:

Can I wear Dexcom G7 through airport security or while flying?

At security checkpoints

You can wear your Dexcom G7 sensor when going through walk-through metal detectors and Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) body scanners. Alternatively, you may ask for hand-wanding or a full-body pat-down and visual inspection. Ask for visual inspection of any part of your Dexcom G7 in the baggage scanning machine.

Most security check points require you to temporarily give up your smart device* and receiver.

Dexcom G7 is safe to go through luggage scanning and will not affect product performance. To help you prepare for airport security checks and screening procedures for air travel, review any relevant airport websites and travel updates before your trip.

Per Tandem:
Tandem pumps are designed to withstand common electromagnetic interference from airport metal detectors, but should not be exposed to X-ray screening, including whole-body imaging scanners and baggage X-ray machines. Notify the security agent that your pump should not be exposed to X-rays and request an alternate means of screening. (e.g. pat down or disconnect at site and ask for hand inspection of device.)

When disconnecting, be sure to only disconnect at the infusion site, not at the tubing lock connection. Disconnecting at the tubing lock connection could result in air in your tubing which could compromise insulin delivery.

What about other security screening devices?

  • Metal detector: YES. Ok for Tandem Pumps. Notify security agent in advance that you are wearing a pump, since the pump will be detected.
  • Baggage X-ray machines: NO. Notify the security agent that your pump should not be exposed to X-rays and request an alternate means of screening. (e.g. pat down or disconnect at site and ask for hand inspection of device.)
  • Full body scanners: NO. Although the newer models of these scanners are not X-rays, we have not tested Tandem pumps with these devices. We recommend requesting an alternate means of screening. (e.g. pat down or disconnect at site and ask for hand inspection of device.)

I stick with the recommendations, a bit of a pain but much better than a malfunctioning pump.

Anyone know if you can go through airport security with an implanted pacemaker (medtronic). I get conflicting information when I try and check it out. My Dexcom G7 goes through without incident/

I just walk on through like everybody else and have never had a problem. Did it a few weeks ago.

Boston Sci: Traveling with a pacemaker - Boston Scientific

You are so incredibly helpful. What a wonderful resource you, especially, and this forum is. Traveling with ailments and devices is always stressful. But then we arrive, and the adventure begins!