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Airport Security X-Rays May Damage Diabetes Devices
Date:11/21/2012

erience of a 16-year-old patient who was told to wear her insulin pump through a full-body scanner by the TSA. As a result of the X-ray exposure, the pump's manufacturer advised the young lady to disconnect the pump, because they couldn't be sure whether or not damage had occurred.

Any pump that uses what's known as direct current motor technology is at risk from X-ray exposure, according to the editorial. Insulin pumps made by Medtronic, Animas and Tandem Diabetes Care use direct current motor technology.

"Like the rest of the insulin pump industry, we recommend the t:slim pump be removed when entering a full body scanner," said Susan Morrison, director of corporate investor relations at Tandem in San Diego. Morrison said that Tandem also recommends that the t:slim pump not be exposed to luggage X-ray machines.

Currently, the only FDA-approved insulin pump that doesn't use direct current motor technology is the OmniPod by Insulet. That pump uses shape-memory alloy wire technology, which according to the company, isn't affected by X-ray exposure. Insulet's user manual says that both the pods, which hold insulin and are attached to the body, and the wireless device that controls the insulin delivery can be X-rayed.

Medtronic also cautions against allowing their continuous glucose monitoring device to go through any type of X-ray scanning.

None of the pump companies expressed concerns about passing these devices through the metal detectors in the airport.

The editorial noted that on an airplane, the increased pressure in the cabin can cause some insulin pumps to deliver slightly more insulin. In general, this isn't a significant concern for teens or adults because the potential amount of extra insulin isn't large enough to make a big difference in blood sugar levels.

But, in young children who use very small amounts of insulin, the extra insulin could cause a drop in blood sugar levels. Parents who are aware of this potential
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