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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Tandem Diabetes Care t:slim insulin pump vs. Medtronic Minimed insulin pump

This post has been really popular so I thought I would reblog it and make some updates.

I recently got an email from my blog asking for my pros and cons between my new pump and my previous MM pump.  I had the older paradigm pump and not the new Revel, so my comparison may not be as up to date as others. (this review was written by me on 10/24/2013 originally and I do not work for MM or Tandem.  If you read the about me page, you will see that I sell cars. --in response to a rude commenter who cannot even leave their name and I will not publish your comments.)

A good chart to look at can be found here:  http://www.diabetesnet.com/diabetes-technology/insulin-pumps/current-pumps/pump-comparison   Those are the specifications and facts.

This is my personal experiences with each pump.
I will say that being on a pump and CGM is a costly adventure but an adventure worth the cost, because my life and my quality of life is worth a lot to me, my husband, my family and my baby daughter.  I want to be here for as long as God intends, not as long as my Diabetes will allow me to.

Medtronic Minimed Paradigm 522 worn April 2009- August 2013

  • Medtronic is a long time pump manufacturer but the look and design of the pump hasn't changed for many years nor has its screen or ease of use.  
  • Faster reloading process and priming the tubing is faster
  • Medtronic has its own type of infusion sets, you have to use theirs no matter what.  
  •  They allow you to make payments monthly for all your supplies.  If you miss a payment or are late they will hound you with phone calls. 
  • To enter your BG on the pump you have to scroll up or down until you get to the correct number
  • To enter your carb count you have to scroll up or down until you get to the correct number and there is no calculator on the bolus wizard. 
  • Medtronic sensors are painful for many people and their calibration system is not exactly user friendly or easy to figure out
  •  Medtronic sensors are more difficult to keep on and most users have to tape them down, which to me grossed me out, I work, I sweat and it gets gross and stinky.  
  •  Medtronic sensors are only good for up to a week, if you are lucky.  FDA approved for THREE days.
  • Anytime I had an issue with my MM pump I would call the hotline and they would help me figure it our or send me a new pump.  I had my old pump replaced 8-10 times in four years.  The issues were pump issues, not user error.  I got cracks along side the reservoir window, the screen and battery cap constantly and I never dropped it, also once had a motor issue after changing the pump reservoir out and priming the tubing it would not stop priming it just kept dripping.  They flew me a pump that night, that was pretty awesome I must say. 

Tandem Diabetes t:slim worn August 2013 - Current
  •  The screen, I love the screen and its ease of use
  • Tandem is a new company but I have heard wonderful things about their customer support.  I have only had one minor pump issue and it turned out to be a bad batch of infusion sets from Edgepark Medical.  Edgepark replaced the ENTIRE box and I have not had one problem since. (I have since had three pumps replaced, one time it shut down when I plugged it in, 2nd one the screen colors started disappearing and third one I dropped it and broke the screen)
  •  I dropped this pump BAD onto my heat/ac vent cover in my bathroom and chipped the paint but thats it, no crazy cracks like my old MM pump would just show up with. (I have broken one screen by dropping it face down onto a real tile floor and it was replaced overnight)
  •  T:slim tubing prime process is much slower, its not harder, just slower.  This bothers some people but I don't let small things like this bother me, I just go with the flow and let it do its thing.  My process is that I take off the old cartridge, let it prepare for the cartridge, I suck out at much extra air as possible with the syringe before I fill it with insulin, push the cartridge on, then draw up the insulin out of my insulin bottle, put it into the pump and prime the pigtail tubing first then I connect the tubing and let it fill it up, I keep the paper thingy holding the tubing together while it primes, its easier to see how close it is to the end that way, for me anyway because I never have any issues with bubbles.  While it is priming the tubing I am changing my infusion set out so its really a non issue.  Then I stop the priming and connect the tubing to my set, do a fixed prime, restart insulin and Im done. ( I now use the method of a really smart guy on youtube http://typeonediabeticwarrior.blogspot.com/2014/11/how-i-get-air-bubbles-out-of-my-tslim.html.)
  •  Entering your bg on the pump is much simpler, I just touch the numbers on the screen and hit done
  • Entering carbs on the pump is also easier, I just thouch the numbers on the screen and use the built in calculator if I need it, INSTEAD of getting my phone out to add things up I can do it on my pump, then hit done. 
  • After you enter your bg and carbs the pump will ask you if you want a correction dose if you are above your target bg.  Please note unless you are under 70 this pump as of now does not subtract insulin.  This issue is easy to counteract though, you can set a delayed bolus time of 15 minutes.  By then after you eat yours bg should be closer to normal.  I use this feature anytime I am lower than I want to be to take insulin.  I have had no problems using this technique, thank you LISA NICHTER from Tandem for giving me this awesome idea! 
  •  Tandem is working with Dexcom for a combined pump/cgm device.  This is great news because Dexcom is my CGM of choice because the MM sensor was incredibly painful for me.  They do have the new Enlite sensors out in the US but you still have to tape them down, NO thank you mam! (Tandem hopes to get this approved by this year 2015!)
  • Dexcom is an equally awesome company and I am over the moon happy they are working on a combined pump.  Dexcom is so easy to calibrate, I cant even explain...the MM CGM can be a bit more difficult to make accurate for some people but others have great luck with it.  You stick it on, wait two hours, enter to bg readings, ANY TIME OF THE DAY, and WHAM its accurate in my personal experience.  Accuracy is key, a CGM that is way off is worthless.   Granted it can be off by a few points but it the trends that matter most and it lets you know when you are going high or low.  Highs and lows are what you need to know about so you can mitigate them asap.I personally recommend talking to your endo or cde about doing a trial with both sensors to see which one works for you, but to get the readings on the MM cgm you need to wear a MM insulin pump. 
Facebook groups that offer a lot of help, insight and support.  I am in each of these groups (minus the parents one).

Dexcom https://www.facebook.com/groups/5015839185/

Tandem Tslim pump  https://www.facebook.com/groups/375244712564233/

Diabetic Warrior group for people with Diabetes https://www.facebook.com/groups/diabeticwarriors/

Parents of Diabetic children, I am sorry I do not have any specific advice other than to search for groups and join them to see how they are.  Otherwise if anyone reading this has a good group please tell me and I will link it! 

Do you live in the Sauk Valley Illinois area?  Join the group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/SaukValleyDiabeticWarriors/

Like my page: https://www.facebook.com/diabeticwarrior 

Dont forget to leave me some comments!  =D

Please leave me your comments. It helps keep me motivated to keep blogging!


  1. DUDE...
    I've been searching for something like this for... a while.
    Do you mind if I print this for my D-support group that meets monthly?

    1. diabeticBob....First I love that you said Dude, I say that way too much and have been trying to leave it out of my blogs. =D Second, sure no problemo, my goal is to help other Diabetics, just give me credit for it is all I ask!

  2. Hi, my son just started using the Dexcom cgm and he does like it. I have a question about how you are getting your sensor to last more that 7 days. Ours seems to shut down on the 7th day, is there a way around this. Also he has always used the Medtronic pump and checking out the T-slim. Does anyone know how people are getting their sensor information to rout to their iphone so they don't have to carry both their phones and a receiver?

  3. You have to press stop sensor and then start sensor and wait the 2 hour warm up period again. There is no way around the 7 day shut down cycle. The people who are able to track their childs' or their own dexcom are getting the system set up through the Facebook group CGM in the Cloud https://www.facebook.com/groups/cgminthecloud/ The basics are that you have to hook your Dexcom up to a cell phone with a data plan that you pay for and it sends it to this website, that you eventually pay for also and then you can see that data on your computer or cell phone and you can get a pebble watch to have your phone send the data to as well. NONE of this is FDA approved or recommended by Dexcom. Its a system you set up all on your own. Go to the group and check it out, all the details are there and even people who will help you set it up.

  4. Hi. Thank you for taking the time to share your experiences. I'm needing a new pump but will not give up my DEXCOM. I'm using the Minimed 523 pump and have no complaints about it. So my decision is between getting another Minimed pump (not the CGM part of it) and the Tandem tslim, and using whatever pump I choose with the DEXCOM CGM. I know the tslim has a lot more features and a more modern look but I'm concerned about the Leur lock and that getting caught on clothing or just being uncomfortable as I tuck all my tubing in my pants and I also wonder how it is for sleeping (laying on it). My other concern is costs. Do you think the tslim supplies cost more than the Minimed supplies? I know this may not be exactly the same for me, but what have you experienced? Thanks for your help.

    Also, are you still happy with the tslim and are you glad you made the switch?

  5. Hello! Thank you for asking and reading my blog. I didnt really have too many complaints about my MM pump except that in the 4 year period I had it replaced a lot of times for cracks or other issues. Granted they ALWAYS got me another pump asap. I have only had two issues with t:slim pumps so far. The time when it totally shut down when I plugged it in to charge it and the last time when the screen started losing pixels. I had some hang ups over the luer lock at first too but got over them quickly. I put the pump upside down in my pocket so the luer lock is still inside my pocket or I wear it on my ankle in a pouch. I actually sleep with my pump in a baby sock upside down also so the lock is inside it and it doesnt rub against me in my sleep. I wear a sports bra type thing to bed that I put it in, this is the only way I hear alarms in case my pump were to have an issue. I am pretty sure the costs are close to the same, I get my supplies from Edgepark because Tandem is not yet contracted with my insurance company. The MAJOR bummer about leaving Medtronic is that the other companies do not allow payment plans for supplies. So I almost always only ever order a month or two of supplies at a time especially after my deductible starts over every January. I am very happy I switched from MM to Tandem, I would do it over again if I had to and will stick with Tandem Diabetes when I need a new pump again in three years. You should join the Facebook group for people who use the tslim pump or the groups on TuDiabetes. I hope I answered all of your questions if you ever have more please feel free to ask in a comment or message me!

  6. Megan, personally I would NOT recommend the FB site "Parents of type 1 diabetes".... if you watch that site, the administrator seems to have some emotional and maturity issues not to mention unpleasant language in threads.... I would never suggest a parent go to that site for support.

    1. Thank you for the tip. I am not in the group so I was not aware. I will remove the link and just suggest them to search for groups. Do you know a good one I can share?

  7. This was a great review of both pumps! Thank you!! I too have worn both. I wore minimed for 11 years and have been on tslim since Jan 2015. Minimed does have great customer service and they also have great upgrade programs for a nominal fee anytime a new product comes out. As for Tslim, I initially wanted this pump because of its ease of use and because it was integrating with Dexcom. Dexcom is more comfortable to wear than minimed's CGMS. So all of my paperwork indicated that I wanted the pump because of the integration. I bought the pump before integration occurred and was told that it would be a software update or I would be offered some sort of upgrade. Now that integration has happened (6 months after pump purchase) those promises have been forgotten and I was told I would need to wait until my insurance would pay for a new pump. That is four years from now. I feel like Tandem doesn't stand behind their products or their promises. I am disappointed in how this turned out. Just before I learned about the integration, I was raving about this pump and now I cannot say the same thing. Very unfortunate!

    1. Chesse,
      I have talked with many people about this exact issue with Tandem Diabetes. I have been told they are currently working with the FDA to create an upgrade program, but of course it has to be FDA approved first and they can't really talk about it until it does get approved. There is no way they would be the ONLY pump company to not offer an upgrade program. I have heard they are trying to make it an upgrade that you just plug your pump into the computer and it upgrades your software. Obviously this would be the MOST cost effective way for any pump company to do upgrades, because more than likely there will be no cost associated. Hang in there, I am pretty positive an upgrade system will be in place but as you know the FDA is very slow.

  8. I have been wearing a minimed for for at least 8 years and have had no trouble but very interested in the tslim. I am a little nervous with how the cartridge change seem to be a little difficult. several people have posted about upgrade programs, is that where they will give you around 500.00 for your old pump then pay what your insurance doesnt? Or is it something different? Is the tslim hard to operate? I really want to change but really nervous!!!! Thanks, K.S.

    1. K.S. As far as I know there is still no upgrade program with Tandem Diabetes as to if you have their pump there is no way to upgrade until your warranty is up after 4 years. So if a new one comes out you have to wait to get it. I am told they are working with FDA for an upgrade program. The tslim is not hard to operate at all for me, it is much easier than the Minimed in my opinion. The cartridge change out is completely different than MM pumps but after a few times you will get the hang of it. I have a friend that switched to Tslim from Medtronic and an uncle that went on Tslim, I think partially after all my praising of the pump and how great it is. All pumps have issues and all users have their own issues with each kind of pump. You have to do your own research and decide what works best for you. I had a Tandem rep come out to my town and show me the pump, I got to handle it, do a cartridge change out and that is how I decided to go with tslim.


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