Warning::: damaged pump a few weeks after being sent thru FBS at airport


Wow, I didn’t realize the TSA scanner could damage the pump. I’ve gone through many with my Omnipod and Dexcom sensor and so far no damage that I’m aware of. I guess it is safest to opt-out then.


Nothing is entirely impossible, but based on my electrical engineering background I’d say it is extremely unlikely that a millimeter-wave body scanner (very low power non-ionizing radio waves) could do any damage to a pump, or a CGM, or a pacemaker, or anything else for that matter. Manufacturers have simply not done enough (or any?) testing and therefore their lawyers tell us that we should not take these devices through body scanners. Well, I routinely go through body scanners with my pump and my CGM, because I find that more convenient and I am convinced the risks are extremely low (much lower than e.g. my pump falling down and breaking mechanically during pat-down screening :wink:) On the other hand, belt X-ray machines employ higher energy (ionizing) radiation. The odds of this causing a pump failure are not very high, but are still much higher than in the case of body scanners, which is why I’d never put my pump through an X-ray machine - there is no need to do that anyway.


Like I said, or intended to insinuate (heh) in the original post, I never made the connection between going through the FBS at the airport and the motor error a couple weeks later. It was the tech at Medtronic who said it was damage due to the scanner. I just know I’m not willing to risk messing up my pump for a TSO’s convenience and will not be going through FBS in the future.
I just knew there were many people who said they regularly went through FBS and/or put their pumps through on the conveyors, so I wanted to let the DOC know what I was told. My pump is really a general safeguard for my sanity…so I just won’t risk that situation again. It was definitely a noob mistake (first time flyer, remember) and if I have to fly again, I will be “pitching a fit” if they want to send me through a scanner again. :slight_smile: So there. :wink:


hello! i recently had a similar experience with the 630g and was wondering if you can give me more details? mine stopped delivering insulin two weeks into my trip. i was hospitalized with ketoacidosis for the first time ever because i had no idea the ct- scanner was something to be avoided. how did you find out it was defected and what pump were you on?


Wow, I didn’t know that happened. Thank you very much for the heads up.


I just got through traveling and have an Omnipod and a Freestyle Libre sensor. I called both companies about any restrictions. I was told that the Omnipod control and pod were fine through x-ray and the Libre reader was fine through x-ray as long as it was off. But the sensor would not be okay through x-ray or the metal detector.

When I got to the airport I was thrown off by the fact that before they had a separate entrance that used a wand only. The only choices now seemed to be the full body scanner or the metal detector. I asked that I was wearing a sensor that was senstive to x-ray and I told them that and they said it wasn’t an xray and people that needed alternatives that is what they had them go through.

It looks like it must have been an xray and they lied? But at the time I figured if they ruined the sensor I could just replace it. I guess you probably have to ask to go through a different area to avoid being scanned.

My sensor was very erratic afterwards, but I had injured myself right before we left and was on medications, time changes and pain etc, so I don’t really know what was causing problems.


When I am traveling by air, I carry a brand-new, clean sandwich-sized baggie in my purse or pocket. While I’m standing in line waiting to go through, I detach my pump and put it in the plastic bag, and as I approach the belt to put my purse through, I ask for the pump to be visually inspected. The pump is only off my body for about 5-7 minutes, and so far, every airport I’ve been in has been really nice about it. And, you could always inject an extra unit or so if you’re afraid that short time off would cause you to go high.


I have TEA Precheck, and pump and Dexcom. This summer, I flew to Brazil and STILL got the patdown! Just eliminated the metal detector and the full body scanner.


Almost EVERY TSA agent I’ve come across, insisted that it’s OK for pumps to go thru the scanners. I ALWAYS insist back that NO, I will not go thru those. Then, I have to wait for a pat down!


Wow, nice to know. I hadn’t flown since I had my pump and had been told not to go through x-ray by either the libre or omnipod people. (I don’t remember which). When I got to the airport, LAX, we asked for a wheelchair as it was a walk and I have back issues that I had made worse by a fall. I asked for an alternate TSA clearance because of my medical devices and was told to go through the scanner.

There were literally only 2 choices where I was at, the x-ray or the FBS. When I reminded them I had a pump and sensor they said they send everyone through the FBS with no issues that it wouldn’t hurt anything.

But that I had to go through one or the other. I figured in a different part of the airport there was probably a different process, but at this point my back was killing me and I caved and went through the FBS,

I had no issues, I was wearing a pod not the pump. The libre sensor had really erratic readings but I was in tons of pain and that shoots my BG up anyway so I couldn’t tell if it was damaged or just erratic because of meds and pain. The readings I did take were off, but there again not unexpected because of meds. (It turned out I had fractured my back the week before)

But I didn’t know you could call before and now will know to be insistent about pat down only!


In my case, EVERY TSA agent has said this. I think because so many people with pumps successfully go through them without immediate problem. And few have problems later, but it does happen.

It depends on the equipment at each airport. Most times I get through metal detector with pump in pocket ok, but sometimes it alerts. Then I have option of full scanner or pat down.


You’re in trouble, if you are leaving on a 2 week trip, and you go thru the full-body scanner, THEN have problems with your pump at your destination. If I was to develop problems, I rather it be ON THE WAY HOME!


I recently had medtronic 523 pump fail on day 4 of a 2 week vacation. But was travelling by car only, no airport. Pump under warranty, and was able to get replacement overnight. Can happen at any time, scanner or not.


I don’t fly very often. I just started using Dexcom G6. I told the TSA agent about that and the Tandem pump and he has kind enough to wand me and do the patdown and finger wipe. That was the case at both airports upon my departure. I would have insisted on it had either one of them tried to force me through the xray or full body scanner.
I worked as a contractor hiring TSA managers back in 2002 and know their chain of command. i know how to ask for the screening manager if I have to.


No where your coming from. I use to travel a lot by air for business.
Itbecause obvious tha TSA has no idea what to do with special care passanager.

You are allowed by law to request a hand scanning.
My compression sets of The FSB’s andicant go bare foot because of corrective shoes
Now tha a I also wear a CGM. There’s no way I’m goin thru one of those scanners