Wednesday, February 11, 2015 - 13:45

A Brisbane blogger’s unique take on the new 640G

From Lewis AKA Ashleigh, a Brisbane blogger. Let's start this post off with something amusing. A few days ago my 3-hour CGM trace totally looked like a cat. Excuse the bad BGL. Apparently my supposed carb-free meal that I bolused 2 units for is not all that carb free. Moving onto the important stuff. Yesterday, a 4 year-old boy from Perth received the first MiniMed® 640G pump. I had the opportunity to play with one of the pumps last week, so I thought it only fitting that I should wake myself up enough to ramble about the new pump, and how in love I am.

And how super jealous I am of that 4 year-old kid. This is just a first impression based on an hour of asking my rep loads of questions; but I'm preeeeeety sure if I was one of those people who married mundane random objects, then I would be saying my vows to the 640G pump come May instead of my fiancé. If you're reading this my dashing H2B, sorry darling. Girls just like men who save their lives. And my pump does it more than you do.

The 640G. Here we go.

Aesthetically, if you're a boy, you're gonna love it. If an insulin pump could have muscles, this one could have rivaled Arnold Schwarzenegger at his peak. It looks strong and sturdy, and ready to do some life-saving business. I will definitely be upgrading to the pink model (the 640G comes in pink, blue, opalescent white, black and purple) come upgrade time, because I am a girl.... and I like my pumps to look pretty. All the pumps have a black base, with a coloured front. You can choose to stick the colour onto the back as well or leave it plain. Personally, I hope they release decals or gel cases for it as with the previous models of pump. Sizewise this baby is only a few mm more than the previous models, probably to help with all that new waterproofing!

The new 640g
The new 640G

Now here's the fun part - all the exciting features that I am still trying to wrap my head around. As always with me, let's do a list!

  • Bigger, brighter, better screen. Actually I don't think it’s bigger, but it is certainly brighter and better. The screen is now colourful and has a light-sensor that will change the backlight according to your surroundings. No more squinting in the sun and groping around blindly at night.
  • The screen displays more stats at a glance. It tells you how much active insulin you have on board without having to go into a stat screen anymore. If you have CGM on the graph it’s displayed all the time. There is a display at the top of the meter for insulin left in the cartridge and battery, as well as a visual for when your next calibration is required for CGM. There's probably some other stuff that I forgot already.
  • Menus are almost the same, but with some added features, such as the ability to choose which Bolus types you want to have activated. For example I use Normal & Dual Wave boluses.
  • There are options now for a pre-set temporary basal. As with the last pump you can add more than 1 basal pattern, but you can now add temporary basal patterns of a predetermined time length and strength. So you can pick a preset exercise temporary basal, etc. You can also NAME these patterns, so you don't have to remember what pattern A, B and C are meant to stand for.
  • Again 2 reservoir sizes :)
  • Waterproof!!!! Although I never needed it before as I am such a bad swimmer, I do feel confident in the fact that I can accidentally fall into a pool with my pump on now if I should wish it. Or get caught out in the rain, which is actually very likely for me as I love love rain.
  • Customisable alarms.
  • Meter that talks to the pump, with a better margin spec than the original (15% as opposed to 20). The Meter also has a strip port light for late-night testing. And my personal favourite that totally won me over to actually trying the meter: DOUBLE-DIP strip technology. Yep, you read that right. NO MORE ‘NOT ENOUGH BLOOD’ ERRORS! Does anyone else realise how much money I will save on wasted strips because I didn't get enough blood. (Just clarifying: double-dip technology means you can add more blood to the strip if you didn’t put enough on the first time).
  • Glucose meter boluses for the pump. It does not use the Bolus Wizard, but you can use preset boluses on it. E.g. you can save a 'breakfast' Bolus if you eat similar carbs for that meal and just select that Bolus on your meter. Soooo if you were like me, and say, getting married and did not want to pull your pump out all the time, you could do your wedding tasting prior to your wedding, count the carbs and save it as a specific Bolus that you could access off your meter. Not counting carbs on wedding day? Check. Also perfect for girls who don't want to grope around their tops to Bolus on nights out.
  • The glucose meter is the download USB. I had 3 USBs previously and lost them all, but I don't lose my meter.
  • Infusion Set change alarm. Yep, you can tell it to remind you. Which is perfect for me because I forget and then find out halfway through the day that I have run out of insulin. Whoops.
  • The pump clip acts as the battery-opening tool. So you can finally bank all those 10c pieces you keep lying around just for this use.
  • You can stop a Bolus delivery in progress with a quick Stop Bolus button during delivery, instead of going through the menu and having to suspend the whole pump and then restarting the whole pump again.

The new 640G, Sensor & meter in real life compared to the brochure
The new 640G, sensor and meter in real life compared to the brochure

While my current pump has low glucose suspend…SmartGuard® has predictive low glucose suspend

There's probably a bunch more stuff that I didn't get to see. Which brings us to the CGM. New SmartGuard® technology. I know they would have done some trials and if I did a Google search I would probably find some statistics to throw at you about how well it really works and all that jazz. But honestly, I'm diabetic, I deal with enough numbers already, I don't want to look at statistics. I just want to look at what it does. Which is to try to stop hypos, before they happen.

SmartGuard® has predictive low glucose suspend. Basically it will try to head off the big bad hypo bear before it even attacks by suspending insulin delivery before you get hypo to keep you in a hypobear-free territory. Once your glucose is stable or rising again, the insulin pump will resume insulin delivery so you don't get high as a kite either.

Technology is one step closer to the closed-loop/artificial pancreas system

It is a good point to note that the transmitter is different - it has a G written on it (and probably is more advanced too) - so you cannot carry over your old transmitter to use with the new system. However I have always gotten my transmitters on great deals, so I wouldn't be surprised if they offered you a deal on sensor start to help with set-up costs.

I should probably leave it there for now and let you all revel in the fact that technology is one step closer to the closed-loop/artificial pancreas system.

Disclaimer: Medtronic did not ask me to review or write about the new pump. I just like new technology and wouldn't have left them alone until they let me see the new technology for myself!

The patient testimonial relates an account of an individual’s response to the treatment. The individual’s account of her response is genuine, typical and documented. However, the individual’s response does not provide any indication, guide, warranty or guarantee as to the response other persons may have to the treatment. The views and opinions expressed are those of the individual poster or author and not representative of Medtronic of the third parties referenced. 1721-022015