Guardian, is a continuous glucose monitor that works with Medtronic’s 670G insulin pump on a closed loop. Thus the sensor communicates with the insulin pump, automatically reducing or increasing insulin.
This post is aimed to let you know our experience with the Guardian Sensor , and let you decide if this a valid option for you. There are many pumps and continuous glucose monitors on the market. I would love to know how they worked for others before purchasing our own. Hopefully, you will learn valuable information today.
My first pet peeve was the difficulty of the insertion into champ. Immediately, we needed to charge the transmitter which can take up to an hour (usually about forty minutes from my experience so far). Charging is accomplished by plugging the transmitter into a small gray pod that runs on AAA batteries. The pod could be easily lost.
Secondly, you have to put the sensor into a “Rocket Launcher,” if you will, which gets the sensor ready to enter the body. I have broken at least four sensors somehow after putting them into the “Launcher.” I’m not even sure how I did it, but the sensor somehow dropped out of the launcher, making it unusable.
**HERE IS A CHEAT FOR ANY POTENTIAL USERS: With Dexcom, I could call and let them know a sensor hadn’t lasted like it should. They would send me new sensors without any trouble. From my experience, Medtronic has not been as understanding or kind. If a sensor fails, you MUST keep the faulty sensor and send it back to Medtronic to get replacement sensors. For me, with the Fantastic Four, this is a real pain in my bum. I explained to one carelink agent that I was not familiar with their system, she still refused to replace the sensor. I hope Medtronic’s people get more compassionate.
Another pet peeve with the system is that Medtronic gives you tape to stick the sensor to the body. In the instructions, it says to put one piece over the sensor. Next, you are supposed to snap the transmitter into place. Finally, they tell you to put a second layer of their tape on top. We found their tape to eat up Champ’s skin.
Their tape leaves Champ’s skin raw, red, inflamed, and sometimes broken. So, I decided to find an alternate method. Early on, my Endocrinologist’s office discouraged me from using Skin Tac or anything of that nature with the Guardian Sensor.
However, one night I called Medtronic in desperation. A kind represenative greeted my frustration. He ENCOURAGED me to use Skin Tac before inserting the sensor. This helped Champ to have a barrier between his skin and the sensor.
Skin-Tac™ Adhesive Barrier Wipes 50 count
Here is what I came up with that is helping Champ. First, I clean the area with alcohol. Next, I use Skin Tac, wiping the area with the substance. This has to dry. Then, I use the Launcher to insert the sensor. Next, I pull off the paper as instructed. Then, I tape it in place with Medtronic’s tape, keeping the bumpy side out. Finally, I attach the transmitter. And, then put a nice bow on it (I tried to make this sound lovely) by placing Flexi Opsite Tape down the middle of the transmitter. I use a small piece of tape to secure the sensor too.
Smith And Nephew Flexifix Opsite Transparent Adhesive Film Roll 4″X10.9 Yards – Model 66000041
The Flexi Opsite Tape works better for us, for two reasons. Reason one, it doesn’t leave the transmitter as gunky. With Medtronic’s tape, I used to have to use Unisolve Wipes to rid it of crud weekly. Now it peels off easily. Reason two, is it is much more kind to Champ’s skin.
Annoyance number one is how sensitive it is. If it kinks, or if too many blood pricks occur too frequently, it quits. There is no warning. It just quits. A new one must be inserted (keep the faulty sensors).
In the same manner, there is no stretching with the Guardian Sensor, unlike the Dexcom, which I easily made one sensor last fourteen plus days with decent accuracy. The Guardian Sensor will not allow any wiggle room. It ends on the seventh day no matter what. Occasionally, it has ended on day five or six, but doing the different adhesive method has made almost all of ours last the whole week currently. (Happy Dancing).
An additional annoyance is, we have to calibrate about four times a day to insure accuracy of the Guardian Sensor’s data. This is a pain (literally for Champ). Pricking his finger that often does not feel good. We were told with Dexcom we only needed to check twice a day, unless he felt low.
With Dexcom, we always checked at least three times a day for me to feel comfortable. I did a finer prick and calibrated before I went to bed.
In contrast, the Guardian Sensor, can only be calibrated when there isn’t much active insulin on board, which makes eating frequently an obstacle. This has been a bummer for Champ, who at eleven years old treats eating often like a grand sport.
Another annoyance that I talked about in my post Artifical Pancreas, a Real Review, is that there is no phone App to see the blood sugar readings. Champ has to pull out his pump and look at it for me to know what his blood sugar is. Champ has mild autism as well. Sometimes, he doesn’t read the numbers accurately. Other times, he tunes out the alarms on the Insulin Pump. These times are when a phone app would be so beneficial.
The last annoyance is we are only supposed to insert the Guardian Sensor into the abdomen according to the FDA. One customer service representative was urging me to only make insertions where there is no scar tissue, where there is a great deal of fat, and a flat surface. These statements made me raging angry.
Champ at eleven doesn’t have that much fat. He has had diabetes for over seven years, his sweet little bottle is full of scar tissue. I worry we will be out of locations for the sensor and pump. With the Dexcom, we could use the thighs, stomach, back, and arms. Honestly, we use the love handles and stomach for the Guardian Sensor. Both of these sites have been successful. I miss being able to use the arm, the very most.
The fact that the sensor is able to adjust what the pump gives Champ is amazing! This alone has made Champ’s A1C improve by almost a whole point.
Other than that, at least we don’t have to check Champ’s fingers up to sixteen times a day as we did before using a CGM (Continuous Glucose Monitor). This is a relief for him and I to not have him pricking as often.
Another positive attribute I can think of is that we can see his blood sugar. We checked so often because with the slight autism, Champ did not communicate well when he was low. Now, we can merely pull the pump out and have a picture of what should be done.
In addition, the Guardian Sensor Transmitter lasts a full year! This is nice as I don’t have to remember when a transmitter may be failing (like with dexcom). Their transmitters are designed to last three months or ninety days. It is nice not to have to wonder about the transmitter as often.
I do enjoy the accuracy! Yes, we have to exert a bunch of effort to get positive results. However, we notice that the sensor is reading Champ more closely than the Dexcom used to. This is a nice positive attribute.
There are a bunch of annoyances with the Guardian Sensor. The complex insertion, adhesives, no phone app, frequent calibrations, battery charges, in addition to other things are a pain.
On the other hand, Champ’s control of glucose has not been this well managed since he was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. All the negatives don’t compare to that fact for me.
Talk to your loved one’s endocrinologist to see if the Guardian Sensor with the 670G might be a great fit for you or your loved one. If you have any questions or anything you’d like to add, please say it in the comments below. Let’s interact with each other.
Thank you for stopping by today. Please come again soon. Blessings to you and yours today and always,