General Insulin Pump Questions

  • MiniMed® 640G insulin pump 3.0 mL

    Measures approximately 5.3 (width) x 9.6 (length) x 2.5 (depth) cm. Weighs just 95.7 grams not including battery.
  • MiniMed® Veo 5 series (554)

    This pump is approximately the size of a mobile phone and measures just 5.1 x 7.6 x 2 cm. Weighs just 95 grams including battery.
  • MiniMed® Veo 7 series (754)

    Measures 5.1 x 9.1 x 2 cm. Weighs just 102 grams including battery.

MiniMed® 640G insulin pump

  • Requires one new AA (1.5 V) battery
  • For best results, use a new AA lithium battery
  • The pump also accepts an AA alkaline or a fully charged AA NiMH nickel-metal hydride rechargeable battery
  • Do not use a carbon zinc battery in your pump
  • Battery life is typically 7 to 14 days depending on the type of battery used
  • Some features that may reduce battery life are:
    • backlight setting
    • high level brightness setting
    • vibrate alert type
    • remote control and meter
    • high basal rates – “excessive” button pressing, bolusing and rewinding
    • frequent lost sensor signal/sensor signal not found alerts (sensor feature)

MiniMed® Veo™ insulin pump

  • Alkaline AAA battery
  • For best results, use a new AAA alkaline battery
  • Energizer batteries provide a very predictable time window between receiving a “low battery” warning to the system losing power (an “off no power” state). This helps ensure proper battery alerts are received, as your battery gets low.
  • The use of other battery brands or types may result in more variation.
  • Battery life is typically 7 to 10 days.
  • Some features that may reduce battery life are:
    • using the backlight
    • vibrate alert type
    • remote control and meter
    • high basal rates – “excessive” button pressing, bolusing and priming
    • frequent lost sensor/weak signal alerts (sensor feature)

Low glucose suspend feature^ (when used in conjunction with Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM)) is a feature to help if you want additional protection against hypoglycaemia or hypoglycaemia unawareness. If the feature is turned on, the pump automatically suspends insulin infusion for 2 hours when glucose levels reach a pre-determined threshold and, without intervention, will resume basal insulin delivery to its pre-set rate. All other sensor functions remain operational during insulin suspension.

^ Components sold separately.

If you DO NOT respond to the alarm, the pump suspends insulin delivery, sounds a siren alarm and displays “I have diabetes, call for emergency assistance.” The pump suspends insulin delivery for 2 hours. After 2 hours, the pump resumes basal insulin delivery. If blood glucose (BG) is still low 4 hours after resuming basal, insulin delivery re-suspends.

If you DO respond to the alarm, you can choose to suspend or resume basal insulin delivery. If you resume basal delivery then your pump will continue to deliver insulin. If you choose to suspend, the pump suspends insulin delivery as above. When the low glucose suspend feature is triggered the pump sirens to ensure the alarm is heard and acted upon.

The two-hour period is based on clinical evidence and allows blood glucose to return to normal. The 4-hour period for resuming insulin delivery after halting it reduces the risk of rebound hyperglycaemia.

SmartGuard™ is a new low glucose suspend feature designed to help people who may have a fear of hypoglycaemia or hypoglycaemia unawareness. It has two different settings so that the pump can automatically ‘Suspend Insulin’ delivery. This suspension of insulin delivery can be set for when the glucose levels are predicted to hit the low limit in the next 30 minutes or can be set to when the glucose levels hit the low limit. The pump can automatically suspend insulin infusion for a maximum of 2 hours when sensor glucose (SG) levels are predicted to approach a pre-determined threshold and, without intervention, will resume basal insulin delivery to its pre-set rate. All other sensor functions remain operational during insulin suspension.

The low glucose features allow you to set your pump to alert, to suspend insulin, or alert and suspend insulin if you are either approaching your low Sensor Glucose limit, or you have reached your low Sensor Glucose limit.

The following table describes the low glucose alert settings.

  How it works
Suspend before low

Your pump temporarily stops delivering insulin if it is predicted that your Sensor Glucose reading will be approaching the low limit within 30 minutes.

Turning on suspend before low, automatically turns on alert on low.

Alert before low Your system alerts you any time it is predicted that your Sensor Glucose reading will reach the low limit within 30 minutes. The alert before low can be used whether suspend before low is turned off or on.
Suspend on low

Your pump temporarily stops delivering insulin when your sensor glucose value falls to or below the pre-set low limit. 

Turning on suspend on low, automatically turns on alert on low. 

Alert on low Your system alerts you when your Sensor Glucose reading reaches or falls below your low limit. This is not an optional alert.

When your pump suspends insulin due to ‘Suspend before low’ the message ‘Sensor glucose approaching Low Limit. Check BG.’ is displayed on your Homescreen.

If you DO NOT respond to the alert, the pump will suspend insulin delivery, sounds a siren alarm and displays “I have diabetes, call for emergency assistance.” The pump basal rate will resume in three ways:

  1. You manually restart the basal rate
  2. The basal rate is automatically resumed based on the following:
    • The pump has been suspended for at least 30 minutes AND
    • The SG shows above the low limit AND
    • The SG is predicted to continue to rise for the next 30 minutes
  3. Insulin delivery has been suspended for 2 hours

If you DO respond to the alert, you can choose to suspend or resume basal insulin delivery.

INSULIN PUMP MYTHS AND MISCONCEPTIONS

Successfully managing your glucose levels with a pump is often as easy as entering your blood glucose and meal information and pressing enter. Your pump will even do the work of keeping track of insulin, so there’s no need to write anything down.

Using a pump can be as public or private as you want. Since insulin pumps are about the same size as mobile phones, wearing a pump can be very discreet. You can put your pump underneath your clothes or wear it on the outside of your clothes, depending on how noticeable you’d like it to be. It’s completely up to you where you want to wear your pump!

Insulin pumps are not huge and bulky – some are smaller than most mobile phones these days. Insulin pumps can be attached to your belt, put in your pocket, and for some women, clipped to their bras. There are many ways to conceal the pump, and in time, you’ll find different ways to wear it that work for you, your outfits, and your activities.

With Medtronic insulin pumps, you have the freedom to temporarily disconnect from your pump for up to an hour for activities such as swimming, showering, and intimacy. Be sure to monitor your BG while you’re disconnected from your pump. If you’re going to disconnect from your pump for longer than one hour, be sure to talk with your healthcare provider for the insulin adjustments you’ll need when you’re disconnected.

There is no surgery involved in getting an insulin pump and it is not permanent. The infusion set that attaches to your body is plastic and it contains a small, flexible plastic cannula that is placed under the skin and changed every 2-3 days.

Many insulin dependent people with Type 2 diabetes use an insulin pump and have great success. Insulin pump therapy is not a last resort, but simply a different and, for many, a more effective way to deliver insulin. An insulin pump is a great tool to help you better manage your diabetes. Along with the education and customer support Medtronic offers, you can live a healthier and fulfilling life on insulin pump therapy.

When you use an insulin pump you have a dramatic reduction in injections – from 3 to 4 injections per day with multiple daily injections to only 1 injection when inserting an infusion set every 3 days with a pump.

Insulin pumps can be easily worn on or under your clothes very securely. There are a variety of cases and clips available to wear with your pump. The pump can also be disconnected from your body for up to an hour for activities like swimming, showering, exercise and other activities you enjoy, so it won’t stop you from living your life.

CGM therapy today does not completely replace fingerstick testing. Since sensor readings are taken from your interstitial fluid (fluid surrounding the cells in your tissue) and not your blood, you still need to test using a BG meter. This is required to calibrate the sensor throughout the day, to make sure the glucose sensor maintains accuracy over time and always when deciding whether or not to make a treatment decision.

It is important to note that sensor glucose readings are taken from your interstitial fluid (fluid surrounding the cells in your tissue) whereas fingerstick tests are taken directly from your blood. There is a natural lag between glucose levels in the interstitial fluid and glucose levels in the blood. Therefore, it’s normal, and should be expected, for your sensor glucose readings and BG readings to be different but for the most part they should be close.

Although an integrated insulin pump and CGM work very well together and are convenient, if you’re not ready for pump therapy and are on multiple daily injections, you can use a stand-alone CGM device like GuardianTM Connect to help manage your glucose levels.

With alerts, graphs, and sensor glucose readings occurring every 5 minutes, it may seem like your CGM devices give a lot of information at first, but with the right training and an explanation of how to use the information, you will have the tools to help you take control of your glucose management. Incorporating CareLink Personal Software into your management routine brings together critical allowing you and your diabetes team to view that information in a meaningful way and make therapy adjustments when needed. Work closely with your diabetes team at the beginning to make sure your needs are met, and over time you will gain the expertise to help fine tune your glucose management.

MiniMed® 640G & water

When properly assembled with the reservoir and tubing inserted, your MiniMed® 640G insulin pump is waterproof (watertight rating IPX8) at a depth of up to 3.6 metres for up to 24 hours. Because the pump is waterproof, it’s unlikely that water damage will occur if it’s splashed or submerged. However, you should carefully inspect your pump to ensure there are no cracks before exposing it to water, especially if your pump has been dropped or you suspect your pump is damaged. The pump is not waterproof when it is cracked.

If you believe water has entered your pump or you observe any other possible pump malfunction, check your blood glucose, and treat blood glucose per your healthcare professional as necessary. You should always contact your healthcare professional if you experience excessively high or low blood glucose levels, or if you have any questions about your care. Regarding the pump, contact Medtronic for further assistance. Australia: 1800 777 808, NZ: 0800 333 444

Travelling and holidays with an Insulin Pump

You can continue to use your MiniMed® Veo™ insulin pump as normal during your flight. Before travelling outside of Australia, check the compatibility of the radio frequency (RF) used by the pump with existing regulations in your country of destination.

International standards and U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations require that devices using radio frequency capabilities should not be used on an aircraft. Therefore you must disconnect the MiniLink™ transmitter from the glucose sensor. Note that it is not sufficient to turn off the CGM feature because the MiniLink transmitter will continue to transmit on the RF unless disconnected from the glucose sensor. If you need to test your glucose levels while in flight, you will need to do this manually using your blood glucose (BG) meter.

You can continue to use the MiniMed® 640G insulin pump as normal during your flight. Before traveling outside of the European Union, check the compatibility of the radio frequency (RF) used by the pump with existing regulations your destination country.

If you are using the CGM function of the pump, International standards and U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations require that devices using radio frequency capabilities should not be used on an aircraft. Therefore you must disconnect the GuardianLink transmitter from the glucose sensor. Note that it is not sufficient to turn off the CGM feature because the GuardianLink transmitter will continue to transmit on the RF unless disconnected from the glucose sensor. If you need to test your glucose levels while in flight, you will need to do this manually using your BG meter.

You should avoid exposing insulin infusion pumps to strong magnetic fields such as those associated with MRI machines. Extensive testing has shown that other magnetised devices such as airport metal detectors, electronic article surveillance equipment, and mobile phones will not affect the working of your insulin pump. Although mobile phones, cordless phones and other wireless high frequency devices can interfere with communication from your glucose monitor/transmitter to your insulin pump, this interference does not cause faulty data and does not damage your pump or the meter. Communication can be restored by removing or switching off these wireless devices.

Your pump should not go through the x-ray machine that is used for carry-on or checked luggage, or the full body scanner. If you choose to go through the full body scanner, you will need to disconnect the infusion set and remove your insulin pump and CGM (sensor and transmitter) prior to the scan. To avoid removing your devices, you should request an alternative screening process that does not use x-ray. Your insulin pump, infusion set, reservoir and CGM system can withstand exposure to airport metal detectors and wands used at airport security checkpoints.

Your pump can make good blood glucose control easier when you travel. You can adjust boluses for meals that come at odd hours, for ones that are bigger or smaller than usual, or for meals that you want to take your time over. You can also adjust your pump to changes in your normal activity level, like sleeping in later.

How you prepare for your travel and what you need to take depends on where you are going and for how long. You’ll obviously need different supplies for a long-haul flight over different time zones, compared to a short domestic holiday.

Here’s a handy checklist:

  • Extra pump batteries
  • Insulin (and appropriate storage container)
  • Pump supplies
  • Insulin pen or syringes
  • Ketone strips
  • Glucagon emergency kit
  • Blood sugar testing equipment
  • Carbohydrate for treating hypos and extra food such as nutrition bars which are easy to carry
  • A good rule is to pack double the amount of supplies you think you would normally need, just in case you have any problems.
  • Make sure you have key contact details of your doctor and diabetes healthcare team as well as diabetes services at your destination.
  • Wear or carry medical ID indicating that you have diabetes and that you are on an insulin pump.
  • It’s a good idea to take along medication for diarrhoea and nausea.
  • Take your pump manual and a list of all your pump settings.
  • You may want to have written useful phrases in the language spoken in your destination e.g. “I have diabetes, please give me some sugar or something to eat”.
  • Check with your destination country about taking your supplies into the country.
  • Always carry medications, snacks, pump supplies and the letter from your doctor in your carry-on luggage when you fly. This is especially important because your luggage may be lost, or you may have unplanned delays for extended periods of time. Insulin in checked luggage may be exposed to extreme (often freezing) temperatures.
  • Pump supplies may be more expensive when buying in another country, or your particular supplies may not be available, so be sure to check with us first by calling our global Helpline 1800 777 808 so that you don’t get any unexpected surprises.

There is no 'universal' approach when it comes to adjusting basal rates for crossing time zones. When planning a trip, consult with your diabetes healthcare team to discuss the trip itinerary and any adjustments you may need. Don’t forget to always carry a list of your basal rates and other pump settings with you.

Set your pump to the new destination time at any point during your flight or when you arrive. It’s very important, however, that you do change the time to that of your destination, as your basal rate settings may be quite different overnight to during the day. If you don’t change the time, you may receive too much insulin during the daytime and then not enough at night. This can be quite dangerous. Remember to change your time back when you return to your original time zone.

It’s a good idea to get up and walk during long-haul flights and drink plenty of water – this helps prevent blood clotting, which is an issue people with or without diabetes may experience. Blood glucose levels can go too high or low due to stress or changes in activity or eating, so you should test your blood glucose more often.

In the US, doctors’ letters are no longer sufficient proof of medical necessity when you are carrying syringes. In order to board an airplane with syringes and other insulin delivery devices, you must produce an insulin vial with a professional, pharmaceutical, pre-printed label that clearly identifies the medication. No exceptions will be made. If the prescription is located on the outside of the insulin box then you should carry that as well.

Check-in time in the US even for domestic flights is 2 hours to enable you to clear all the security checks.

In the US you must notify security screeners that you have diabetes and that you are wearing a pump and are carrying supplies with you.

An MRI test uses extremely powerful magnetic fields and radio frequency waves to create images of organs and structures inside the body. These strong magnetic fields can damage your pump and potentially pull it from your body. The cannula infusion sets (which do not contain metal) include the Mio, Sof-set, Quick-set and Silhouette, and may be left in your body without concern.

Before having an MRI, X-ray, CT scan or diathermy treatment or other type of exposure to radiation, you should temporarily disconnect your pump, transmitter and glucose sensor before entering the room in which the procedure is to occur.

If you have questions regarding a specific test and how it may affect your pump please contact our global local Helpline 1800 77 808.

For more information on disconnecting from a pump, visit our Infusion Sets FAQ

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For kids and carers

It's a great idea to let your friends, classmates and teachers know that you have Insulin Dependent diabetes. This way, everyone can look out for you at school and understand that you may have to eat at particular times, before or after sport and even during an exam. Hear how Shiloh’s teacher looks out for her.

  • Make sure whoever packs your lunch, puts your stickers on your lunchbox, so you know how many carbs you're having at morning tea and lunch
  • Ask your school canteen for the list of foods they sell
  • Be sure to have some extra snacks ready for exam days or sports days, just in case
  • For excursions or school camp, plan ahead
  • For a parent's point of view, read our blog.

Your MiniMed® 640G insulin pump is waterproof (watertight rating IPX8) at a depth of up to 3.6 metres for up to 24 hours, when properly assembled with the reservoir and tubing inserted.

Medtronic CGM transmitters, when connected to the sensor and worn, are waterproof and fully immersible. However, we do not recommend immersing your CGM transmitter in very hot water (like a hot tub). You can wear the transmitter to a depth of 2.4 metres (8 feet) for up to 30 minutes.

If you choose to remove your pump when swimming, remember to regularly test your blood glucose levels. Top tip: leave your insulin pump in a cooler bag, under a towel or in a shady spot while you’re swimming, so your insulin doesn’t get hot in the sun.

Going on a sleepover or to school camp is heaps of fun! It’s a good idea to practice testing your blood glucose and using your pump by yourself at home first. It’s a good idea for mum or dad to let your teachers or friend’s parents know important things about your diabetes, like how to manage hypos. When spending time away from home, you might like to be prepared with the following:

  • Pump supplies
  • Extra pump batteries
  • Insulin (and an appropriate storage container)
  • Blood glucose meter and testing equipment
  • Insulin pen or syringes
  • Ketone stripes
  • Glucagon emergency kit
  • Diabetes identification
  • Mum and Dad’s phone number
  • Extra snacks
  • Carbohydrates for treating hypos
  • Important notes for things you do at home to manage your diabetes

Top tip: pack double the amount of supplies you would normally need, just in case you have any problems.

Private Health Patients

It’s not about having the most expensive cover – just one that suits your needs, so check that insulin pump therapy is included. You can log on to: www.privatehealth.gov.au to compare health funds and if in doubt, check with your health fund that your policy meets your needs.

The National Diabetes Service Scheme (NDSS) offers consumable medical products at a subsidised rate for those with an Australian Medicare card and a formal diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes by their medical specialist. For people with Type 1 diabetes, insulin syringes are free. Insulin pump consumables (IPCs) and blood testing strips are subsidised equating to a cost of about $26 per month. The cost of consumables for people with Type 2 diabetes is not covered by the NDSS and costs approximately $270 per month. See http://www.ndss.com.au/en/About-NDSS/Product-and-Supply/ for more details.

It is important to always change your level of health cover to reflect changes in circumstance. Remember, children can be covered on family policies until their late teens or early 20s depending on the policy.

Waiting periods apply to your ability to access many aspects of private health insurance coverage. If you’re in the interim ‘waiting period’ for private health cover benefits, Medtronic hosts a ‘Bridging the Gap’ loan pump program meaning you can go on insulin pump technology straight away. Information on this program is available by speaking with a Diabetes Educator or Medtronic Australasia.

Under the Private Health Insurance Act 2007, private health insurers are required to pay benefits towards devices that are listed on the Prostheses List when provided as part of an episode of hospital treatment, for which a member has an appropriate level of hospital cover and has met any requirements by their individual health fund, e.g. waiting periods. The MiniMed® 640G Insulin Pump is listed on the Prostheses List. Diagnosis of diabetes may follow a hospital admission or GP/specialist consultation, when a hospital admission is not required. Many health funds approve funding for an insulin pump in an ‘outpatient’ setting.

Health fund policies vary, however our commitment is always to ensuring the health of people using Medtronic therapies. If a person’s pump malfunctions ‘out of warranty’, the Medtronic Helpline (which is available 24/7 by calling 1800 777 808) will seek to determine the cause of the malfunction. A ‘product observation report’ can then be provided as evidence the pump is not working (assuming a malfunction) to a patient for their healthcare team. Medtronic will provide short-term loan pumps in this instance to ensure continuity of care while the patient waits for their health fund to approve provision of a new pump.

Dependent on the health fund, “extras” cover may include rebates for a self glucose monitoring device. However, this does not include the cost of consumables or sensors. Some health funds also cover the cost of services provided by a credentialed diabetes educator under their “ancillary” cover. Please check with your health insurance provider for details.

Transmitters and sensors for the Medtronic Insulin Pump System can be purchased directly from Medtronic. A rebate may be provided for the transmitter under ancillary or general (‘extras’) health insurance, depending on your level of cover. Please contact Medtronic Diabetes support services or your health fund for more information. For more information about the benefits you are entitled to under your policy, contact your private health insurer.

The Private Health Insurance Ombudsman provides an independent service to help with health insurance problems and inquiries. You can contact the Ombudsman on 1800 640 695 (free call anywhere in Australia) or email at info@phio.org.au

Read our blog on Obtaining Insulin Pump Therapy.

Information on private health insurance is also available at www.privatehealth.gov.au

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