Medtronic 530G insulin pump and Enlite Sensor review

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Back in May I upgraded to the new Medtronic 530G insulin pump and Enlite sensor.  I started the new pump right away but I waited until I used up some of my old sensors (since Medtronic wouldn’t take back the ones I had bought with the old sensor after upgrading to the new sensor) and finally switched over to the Enlite two weeks ago.

Insulin pump:

It’s essentially the same as my old pump.  It does have the threshold suspend feature in place but I don’t have it activated because it still concerns me how it handles my blood sugars.  Being pregnant, there is a fine line between “low” and “too low”.  Technically, I should be starting pre-meals as low as 60mg/dl but then if I’m in the 50’s I feel really low and drop quickly to 40’s.  If I were to use the threshold suspend feature, I’m not sure what I would set it to, so for the time being, I’m not using the feature.

One thing I LOVE about the new pump is the pink color.  In the past ten years or so I’ve basically stuck with the grey/clear insulin pump because it was more “professional” looking and I didn’t want to draw a lot of attention to it.  Now that I’m older and don’t care as much and I also work from home, I thought it was time for a change so I changed the color to PINK!

One negative I have noticed about the pump is the battery life.  I never wrote down concrete data but I’m pretty sure my old pump would only need a new battery every month or two.  My husband bought a big pack of batteries for me and I didn’t go through them very fast.  Now on the new pump, I probably go through a new battery at least once per week! One time I changed my battery and 36 hours later I needed to change it again.  It could have been the battery but since they were from the same pack, I’m thinking it had more to do with the pump than the battery.

Overall, not much change between this pump and my old Medtronic pump.  The battery life is a nuisance but I love my pink color. Note: I’ve been a Medtronic insulin pump user for 17+ years and I have been happy with them throughout-They have great customer service; I love the Silhouette infusion sets,; I love the buttons on the pump so I don’t need to look when bolusing or responding to an alert (with the aid of the sounds from the pump).  I’ve contemplated switching pumps but I’m overall very happy with the pump-I wish it was compatible to an iPhone and had colors on the screen but otherwise I love it.

Enlite Sensor:

Eek, where to start with this one.  I’ll start with the pros:

Pro: The insertion process is AMAZING!  It’s so much easier than the old sensor, like night and day how much easier it is to use.  I think if I had had this sensor insertion process all along, I would have a much different impression of the sensors (I hated the old sensor at first because it hurt so bad to insert!).  Another pro is that it lasts 6 days versus my old sensor’s 3-day lifespan.  True, I did “trick” my old sensor to last longer than the 3 days but it’s still nice to use the new sensor and know that I’m not “tricking” it.  The tape that comes with the sensor also holds really well, almost too well-almost too well, the tape is no joke!   A final pro is that after the initial 24 to 36 hours, it is very accurate.  I had issues with my old CGM in the past and it’s accuracy.  It wasn’t just the first 24 hours with the CGM, it was all the time.  It would tell me I was 60 if I was 100 or 100 if I was 60.  I felt a lot of the times it wouldn’t alert me to a low properly.  I don’t have this issue with the Enlite sensors…I’ve found it to be very accurate after the initial day or two.

Con:  There is really only one negative with the new Enlite sensor but it’s a MAJOR CON.  The accuracy the first 24 hours (or 36 hours) is AWFUL.  The first day I put the sensor in, I had major struggles with the accuracy.  It was saying I was 40 for about 3 hours straight; I was around 100.  Overnight was the worst.  It wouldn’t come up from saying I was in the 50’s even though my blood sugar was perfect.  I had the worst night’s sleep ever.  The first 24 hours with this new sensor really make me debate if I should switch to Dexcom.  After I get over the initial hump, things are fine, though. Since I’m only two+ weeks into the sensor, I’m going to wait and see if the first 24 hours improve at all as time goes on.  I’m really hoping they do.  It wouldn’t be worth it to me if 1 out of 6 days were inaccurate; that’s a very high percentage when dealing with diabetes control especially when pregnant.

CGM inaccuracy-1st 24 hours

CGM inaccuracy-1st 24 hours

CGM inaccuracy-1st 24 hours

CGM inaccuracy-1st 24 hours

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I do have two other small negatives for the CGM.  First, if I have my CGM and infusion sites on different sides of my belly, I like to keep my insulin pump on the side where my infusion set site is so the cording can stay on the same side.  Often the CGM can’t seem to talk to the pump if it’s on the opposite side of my belly.  I don’t have a huge belly (despite being pregnant) so I think the range the CGM reaches is incredibly small.  However, I noticed this with the old pump/CGM as well so I think it’s more a Medtronic issue than the new pump/CGM. Second, I can “trick” the CGM to go longer than the initial 6 days but the transmitter runs out of battery life around day 7 so there is no extending the CGM much longer than the initial 6 days.

If I can get past the first 24 hours of the CGM, I would definitely recommend this pump/CGM combo.  One thing I love about Medtronic is that I only need the one device, the pump to hold my insulin and my CGM data.  This is one major reason I haven’t switched yet to a different pump/CGM combo.  However, if the accuracy doesn’t improve, I might decide to make a switch.

CGM accuracy after 3 days!

CGM accuracy after 3 days!


45 thoughts on “Medtronic 530G insulin pump and Enlite Sensor review

  1. A little birdie told me that you can remove the transmitter on Day 7, recharge it, and reattach it, telling the pump to “Find lost sensor”. You’ll need another 2-hour “warmup”, but this birdie got another 5 1/2 days before starting to question its accuracy.

    Also, Day 1 performance usually does stink. When this seems to be happening, I’ll re-start the sensor at about the 6 or 12 hour mark, thus wiping out those old calibrations that are screwing things up. The 2-hour warmup isn’t always enough. (Restarting it does NOT require another 2 hours). Also, I was recently told (but haven’t tried yet) to gently place the Serter on the insertion site and not to apply any force. Not only does it overly “traumatize” the site, requiring more time to reach a steady-state, but the springiness of the flesh when removing the serter could cause problems.

    Thanks for the review! I’ve been pushing myself to write one myself, but haven’t gotten too far…

    • Oh that birdie had a great tip! But how do you get it off with how strong the tape is that goes over it?!

      Good tip on trying to restart…I’ll give that a try next time!

      • The little flap that covers the transmitter can be removed quite easily, and can actually be folded over itself while the transmitter charges. If you have strong tape over the transmitter (which kind of tape is that?) I suppose you just need to be really careful.

        Now a question for you– any tips on getting that Enlite overtape applied properly? For me, it always seems to want to fold over and stick to itself, or the adhesive covers the sensor connector and I need to pick it away with my fingernails. I just don’t seem to have the dexterity to put it in the right place on the first try.

        • I use the Enlite overtape on the transmitter as well…they gave me 10 strips in the box of 5 transmitters…that tape is STRONG!

          I’m not really sure what I do to put the sensor tape on haha. I’ve only done it three times but so far I haven’t had any issues with getting it on. Next time I do it, I’ll try to see if I do anything special and let you know!

    • Crazy thing is with a pump worth $8500 and medical sensors at least $75 each the companies who develop these products should be testing and getting them right prior to public release, it shouldn’t be up to the customer to try and work around them being inaccurate the first 24hours.

  2. I left Medtronic because I wanted a pump that would integrate with Dexcom. Almost two years later I am still waiting for the Vibe…. I really preferred my Medtronic pump to the Ping that I am using now. I had a horrible experience with the Sofsensors and used them on and off for 2-1/2 years. Obviously I have not tried the Enlite sensors, but with the Dex G4, I get an average of 2.5 weeks per sensor. My record is 3.5 weeks and rarely do I get less than two weeks. The first day is not fabulous but when it’s 1 day out of 17 or 18, it’s not as big a deal as 1 out of 6. I miss the sensor integration into the Medtronic pump and I also miss the sensor information available on the pump. (Dexcom gives the current number on the receiver, but only graphs for previous numbers until you download it to your computer.)

    Unfortunately there is no perfect system out there. In general all of the pumps deliver insulin OK so the CGM becomes the decision-maker for many of us. I was a very happy Medtronic pumper but they lost me because of the CGM.

    • Yes, the Sofsensors were AWFUL! The Enlite sensor is SOO much easier to put in. Yes, the reasons you listed are exactly the reasons I haven’t switched but want to…16-17 days with Dexcom would be amazing but like you said I love the sensor integration in the Medtronic pump. And like you said, the CGM really makes the difference on the decision. If I hadn’t been using Medtronic for so long, I would probably have switched by now (I have a huge stockpile of pump supplies!).

      It seems like a perfect system would be so obvious but yet there isn’t one yet…hopefully one comes out soon! It would make all of our lives so much easier! 🙂

      • I’m still waiting on the Vibe too, and I do think that will be my fav pump/cgm combo. I do miss the sensor integration on the pump and the “predictive low” alerts, but the 3 weeks worth of wearing is nice. And it doesn’t hurt to insert! Are you saying the new sensor insertion doesn’t feel like a harpoon hitting you anymore? How nice! BTW, if you ever do decide to switch, other than the reservoirs are no longer compatible, I’ve been using my MM insertion sets with my Ping pump just fine. 🙂

        • Oh that’s good to know that I could still use my insertion sets! Yes, the new CGM doesn’t hurt to put in at all! I even let my husband do it the last time, which I was always way too afraid to let him do the other one because it hurt so bad (only reason I wanted him to try was because I feel like I’m going to need help when I transition to my butt/back area).

  3. Hi
    I have been using the enlite for quite a while and recently started putting the sensor on my arm. this has solved the “weak signal” problems as Iong as I wear the pump and senor on the same side. I have also had really good accuracy using the arms. its not recommended by the manufacturer but my dr said its fine.

    I have two little kids and was finding that holding them was painful as it was dragging down on the sensor (when I was wearing it on the abdomen/back) and the arm has solved this problem too.

    • I would love to know also if you figured out a way to put it on your arm alone??? I’ve moved my sensor to my arm for the same reasons, little ones rubbing and tugging on it on my tummy and so it just didn’t work. It’s much better on my arm but I had to have help putting it there

  4. Hi! I started on the Enlite in mid-July 2014, after 6 pretty-successful years of SofSensors (i wore them in my upper buttocks, and inserted them manually, against Medtronic’s advice.) Now I find that some of my Enlites are amazingly good, while others are awful. I am wearing them in my abdomen, which is not very large. Just wondering if any of you have had luck with Enlites in upper buttocks. I tried one on my hip, but every time I rolled on it in my sleep it gave me a false low. Thanks.

    • Hi June! Yes, I was just like you with my hip…I tried three times, rolled over on it all three times and it led to false low readings. Since then I have only been using my upper butt and it’s been a lot more reliable and I even got my first 12 day period out of one!

      • Kelley: If you use your upper butt for insertion (per your private message to me) how do you not put pressure on the transmitter while sleeping?Perhaps it’s not as intense pressure as one gets on the hip. Just wondering. Thanks! Signe

  5. Scott, I have not had success with getting more life out of my sensor. Do you have to turn it when it is recharging? I have only been getting five and a half days of sensor life and sometimes very inaccurate readings. I have been using the mini med pumps since 1991 and have always liked the design and ease of use. Since I’ve had the 530 G I have also noticed my cannula clogs up and stops delivering insulin after a few days instead of four or five days. It is as if the manufacturing of the cannula has changed. Having used Mini Med products for over 20 years I am baffled by this problem. I purchased the 530 G and Enlite sensor in April or May.

    • Hey Kristin, I’m not sure what Scott does but I actually got my first 12 day period out of the Enlite! Like you, I have struggled with it. I started to use my upper butt instead of my stomach/love handles and found it works pretty well. I went 6 days and was able to untape it then charge the transmitter and re-plug it in to get another 6 days out of it. The second round of 6 days were way more accurate than the first! Good luck!

  6. This may be something that you already know, but Energizer batteries are the only brand that last for long periods in the pump. I found that if I use store brand or even Duracell, the battery only lasts for about a week. I wasn’t using the pump with the CGM though, so I’m sure that impacts the battery life.

  7. Also the inserter for 530g constantly breaks. It works one time and breaks. Then I have to call meditronics to get another one. This has happened six time. Debating if its worth spending the money on sensors if I have to go through this hassle all the time.

    • Oh wow, that’s annoying that you have had that happen. I haven’t had my inserter break yet (knock on wood) but I think if it had happened 6 times I would have definitely given up. Hope it’s getting better for you!

  8. I have been using the 530G with Enlite sensors for a year. Sometimes the sensor accuracy is spot on, but more often than not it is atrocious. Last night and early this morning, on the fourth day of sensor use, I was getting low alerts and Threshold Suspend notifications. When I checked my BG, it was in the 170-180 range. I am glad I didn’t treat the “low”. I finally got a cal error and lost the sensor transmission. This happens a lot in the final 24-48 hours of the sensor’s life. My doctor has confirmed that this has occurred frequently to her patients. Medtronic keeps giving me a song and dance of how I can’t lay on it, or I should overtape the sensor, or that I shouldn’t overtape it. And I only wear the sensor for six days, so I am playing strictly by the rules. I’ve had it with Medtronic. In one year and four days (yes, I am counting the days), my insurance will let me get a new pump. I am looking at the t:Slim, and Dexcom if the t:Slim doesn’t have CGM integration.

    • I hope you will try wearing Enlites in places other than the abdomen! As soon as I moved to my outer thighs, and more recently to my upper buttocks, I began to get really good accuracy. I had the worst trouble with Enlites inserted in the abdomen and the hip, so my trainer said I should wear them wherever they work, but if I have any issues for which I am requesting a replacement, I should lie to Medtronic and say I was wearing the sensor in the abdomen!

        • It’s too bad that Medtronic isn’t more accommodating. Back when I was using my stomach, I got the same frustrating song and dance from them about not taping it too much or not laying on it or whatever but then once I switched to my upper butt, it’s been so much better. If Medtronic would just support other areas besides the stomach, they would have much happier customers (I know they can’t because of the FDA but still)

  9. Thank you for the review! I’m wearing my Enlite for the first time ever: I’m on day 6 and it’s time to remove it, but I just got the willies so I’m taking a break to read blogs for moral support. 😉

    Like you, I’m concerned about the lack of accuracy thus far. My CGM data is always higher than my actual BG, however.

    I’m wearing the sensor on my abdomen right now, and based on the comments here, I want to try other places! The only successful place I can wear my pump infusion set is my thighs, so chances are I will have to resort to my abdomen and upper buttocks (when I get up the courage) for my CGM. I’m lean and muscular, and I hit muscle almost every time I insert an infusion set. PAINFUL. I even hit muscle on my first attempt inserting my CGM sensor. 🙁

      • Upper-butt works really well…just make sure it’s far back enough (not so much on the side) where it’s up against a flat part of the body. I’ve found that if you go too close to the side, where the skin starts to round to the hip, the transmitter won’t sit flat against the skin (or if it does, it pulls the sensor out leading to the godforsaken “kinking” problem). Also, if you sleep on your side, you don’t want it in the way.

        Of course, at my age I can’t twist around as I once could and it’s hard to insert there, so I’m wearing my Enlite in the abdomen right now.

        • Yes, the upper butt is great! It’s taken me a little while to find the sweet spot on my butt because sometimes I do it in a weird spot where it might rub when I’m sitting or something but I’ve never had trouble with it from sleeping. Definitely give it a try because it saved me from much frustration with Medtronic.

          Scott-I actually have my hubby help me because I can’t twist around that great either. 😛

          • Thanks for all the great tips, everyone! 🙂

            Kelley is SO right about this overtape being ‘no joke’! My Medtronic trainer has me using 2 tapes over my sensor, and it took me FOREVER to remove. I tried ripping the tapes off like a Band-Aid but they were not budging lol. So I had to do the slow pull n’ peel.

          • Smith & Nephew “Uni-Solve” is great for removing the tape from your skin (and the tape residue). I use the bottle (not the wipes) and sometimes need to saturate the area to get it to peel off. You can get it on Amazon.

            Also, I never tried, but they say the adhesive works by reacting with body heat. I wonder if an ice-cube might help to remove it (it’s a lot cheaper than Uni-Solve!)

          • I actually started to only use one piece of the tape they give us with the sensors. I put the tape on the initial part of the taping process and then I use Tegaderm tape over the second part. The Tegaderm tape is a lot less sticky so it comes off easier which makes the process of taking the sensor off to recharge a lot easier.

  10. Wow, I’m so happy I found this review and read all the comments! My insurance JUST approved for me to get the pump and enlite sensor, so I should be getting started on it all soon. After reading a million bad reviews that the sensor doesn’t work, I was nervous that I made the wrong choice. But I’ll make sure to try the upper butt and see how that works, if my readings aren’t on track.

    Any other helpful tips for getting started on it all? This will be my first experience with a tubed pump, so I’m a little nervous about it getting caught on things and getting in the way.

    • Hi Sara! I like to use the shorter tubing since I wear my infusion set on my thigh most of the time. I clip my pump on my jeans pocket and have never gotten it caught on anything. 🙂

      When I first started wearing my pump, I was nervous to remove the infusion set after the 3-day period, so I used baby oil to loosen up the adhesive. Then I worked my way up to just removing after the shower. Then finally I got up the nerve to just rip it off like a Band-Aid. 😉 Maybe this will be helpful to you!

      Like you, I was SO nervous due to all the bad Enlite reviews (I’ve been on the pump for 4 years though). I’m on week 2 of the Enlite, and so far so good! The readings aren’t super accurate yet but I almost don’t care. I’m finger-pricking 12-15x daily so it doesn’t matter. The BG reports are still VERY telling: we were already able to determine that I was sleeping through severe nighttime lows, so we’ve adjusted my basal accordingly and added alerts. Cool!

      • 12-15 is definitely more than you need, in fact, it can sometimes confuse the pump if you use too many for calibration. CAL ERROR is my most hated error. One thing that I am trying to figure out is a good way to wait long enough after my shower to avoid having that cause them. Just don’t do too many BGs, because it’s possible it could do more bad than good.

        • Yeah, it’s definitely bad to have too many calibrations in a 24 hour period. When I talked to Medtronic, they said that it should only be 4-5 a day, and 5 is even pushing it as potentially too many.
          They also shared a trick with figuring out whether or not you’ll get the Cal Error: if you take your current blood sugar and divide it by the current ISIG, it should equal between 3 and 8.33. If it’s outside that range, you’ll get a Cal Error.

          Example: If your blood sugar is 80 and your ISIG is 18.67, you would take 80 / 18.67 = 4.28. That would be a safe calibration. If your blood sugar is 80 and your ISIG is 7.86, it would be 80 / 7.86 = 10.17, so that would give you the Cal Error.

          If your ISIG is ever below 18, they said that something can be wrong. They recommended to me to turn off the sensor for a few hours, and when you turn it back on it should reset itself and be better.

          Trust me, I’ve had SO many problems with calibrating, I feel like an expert now! I hope that some of this helps and that you all can use some of the info!!

          • Thanks! Being someone with a mind for math, there is nothing I could want more than an equation to determine when to do my calibrations! Hopefully this will help me; I never really paid much attention to the ISIG before, but I have a feeling I will be looking at it a lot more now. Thanks!

  11. Good to read your post and all the comments. I’m about to receive a donated Medtronic Revel pump and use a Dexcom, but will be curious to see how using a pump for the first time changes my diabetes world!

  12. It has been quite some time since this review. I’m in need of a new pump and have started researching different options. In that research, I came across your blog, which has been wonderful to read through. If you were upgrading your pump today, would you still go with the 530G Enlite? I’ve also been wearing a Medtronic pump since 1999 and switching is a little scary, but I am really leaning towards the Tamdem t:slim G4 that works with the Dexcom CGM. So far my decision is based on the CGM and the inaccuracy of minimeds…

    • Georgi Ann, did you ever end up switching to a different pump, and if so, which one did you go with? Have you tried the t:slim? I’m eyeing that one! 🙂

  13. Skip the enlite. Go Dexcom for CGM. My enlite currently reads 40 with double down arrows. My actual BG is 175. I am also 23 hours into a sensor change.

  14. the enlite CGM and the Med 530 pump is not a good working combo – I’ve had a Med pump for over 15 yrs and they work fine but the Med enlite CGM is terrible to be perfect blunt – the inaccuracy is unacceptable as mentioned by others – to have a CGM that is more than 50-70 pts out of accuracy is unworkable in trying to control your diabetes – the pump gets into what i call a death spiral of inaccuracy and continues for hours to days – I have told this to the Medtronic reps and engineers at meetings and their only suggestion is to turn the CGM off and restart it – well that gets to be a pain having to recalibrate numerous times and then it doesn’t solve the problem many times – the insertion process for the enlite sensor is another activity that needs improvement over the older CGM sensor – undoing the insertor is difficult at times and ends up pulling out the sensor – then you are stuck and have to use another sensor or essentially manually tyr and insert it – not a good design at all

  15. you can tell from my earlier message how unhappy i am with the enlite-medtronic system after they know the problems for at least 2 yrs and haven’t done anything to correct them – I am changing to the dexcom as others are doing based on the inaccuracies of the enlite-med combo system just makes it unusable for managing your diabetes – so as JB and Georgi above are indicating – is the dexcom – I did a trial at my clinic and the dexcom off the shelf had closer (approx 10-20 points difference ) at first and then was right on the remaining trial period

  16. I have been wearing my Enlite sensors on the front of my thighs. My readings have been amazing because I have been very careful about calibrating when I am in a certain range. Unfortunately, even though I tape properly using their sensor tape and use Tegaderm on top of that so that all sensor and transmitter edges are covered, I have managed to pull out two sensors before their end date. The first one caught on my pajama pants after a shower. The second one caught up on my pump tubing. Medtronic is of no help because I am using them on my legs and not my abdomen. Any tips for taping that will make pulling out my sensor less likely?

    • Hi Evonne! Hmm, I’m not really sure. I use the Tegaderm tape over my sensor as well and its seems to hold up ok…although I put my sensor in my upper butt so it’s not as out in the open as a thigh is.

  17. Kelley, are you still using the Medtronic 530G and Enlite sensor? I’m sooooo stressed out about the inaccuracy that it’s driving my sugars higher! Have you ever heard of people staying with the Medtronic pump, but using the Dexcom CGM? That’s what I am considering trying, at least until the Medtronic 670 comes out, supposedly with a more accurate sensor. Thanks.

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