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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

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

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. Thanks for the info. I am trying to decide on a pump for my 12 year old. We were leaning toward the tandem, and this just seals the deal!! thanks again!!

    1. Keep in mind that Tandem has stated that when the Dexcom/Tslim combo pump gets approved they will not be upgrading people to the new pump. Please read this article before you make the leap. http://www.healthline.com/diabetesmine/tandem-diabetes-envisions-different-type-future-tech-upgrade#4


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