I have been thinking for a while now that I should put down what I think about the difference between the Medtronic insulin pump that we used to have and the Animas insulin pump we have now. I have no affiliation with either company so I am just telling you what I think based on use and not because someone is paying me to do so. I will list some pros and cons for each system and tell you the things that I think are important when making this decision. I am an equipment development engineer and I design testing systems, wire the electrical systems and develop the software for automotive testing for a living.
Insulin pump evaluation:
My overall impression is that Medtronic has a better pump just based on software and controls. Both pumps do the job they are designed for and blood glucose is maintained well by both. My problem with the Animas pump is the software hangs and is unresponsive when starting and stopping the pump. It can also be unresponsive when starting the continuous glucose monitoring system (CGM). When entering the carbohydrates or blood glucose number the pump overshoots or undershoots badly and it is very annoying. After using it for six months I thought it would get better but it is just annoying and very frustrating at times. I do like the all of the information that the Animas pump displays. It is good for someone that knows what they are looking at but it can also be intimidating to someone that is just trying to help out like a school nurse, the secretaries at the front desk at my sons school and daycare workers. The Medtronic pump seemed easier to explain and I didn't have to tell them to just ignore things all of the time. It is also easier to edit the basal rate information, sensitivity number and the food ratios on the Anmias pump. I am disappointed by the Animas pump as it feels that they just added the circuit board to the pump for the Dexcom CGM and really did not work to integrate it with the pump. Having both systems in one small package is awesome, especially when you have a seven year old that is responsible for it's care. The Medtronic pump has a few different meters that send the blood glucose reading directly to the pump. This is a nice feature that I really miss with the Animas pump. Medtronic clearly wins with the careful integration of the CGM and blood glucose meter systems, smooth software flow and simplicity. If I were solely choosing an insulin pump I would pick Medtronic over Animas everyday of the week.
The Continuous Glucose Monitoring System: (CGM)
Dexcom is hands down the best when it comes to CGM systems. They are more accurate, the sensor wire is smaller and more comfortable and the sensor pad is much larger so it is easier to keep on a seven year old. The CGM is integrated into both pumps but the Animas pump feels like two different systems. The Medtronic CGM is fully integrated into the system and it feels like one harmonious system working together to give the user a seamless experience. The blood glucose number populates with what the CGM on the Medtronic pump while the Animas pump always start at 80 no matter what the CGM is reading. The trend graph for the CGM is always on the front panel for the Medtronic pump. The Animus pump you have to click through three different windows just to see this graph. This further highlights the feel of two different systems. The Medtronic CGM was less accurate for the time that we had it. It was also much harder to keep on a seven year old and he told me it hurt more when I put it on him. I also like having the separate Decom receiver to have by the bed at night to warn me when he is trending high or low. The extra reliever was $500 and I do not have to by my seven year old a phone vs the $2500 it would cost for the "night watch" system that Medtronic had. Plus the receiver is small so I can put it in my pocket and take it with me when we are going somewhere. Also a big bonus!!! The Dexcom 5 has integration with the IPhone. When William gets older this might be an option but for now I am glad that I can keep the receiver with me and not have to pay a phone bill for it.
If I had to pick again I would still pick the Animas but only because it has the Dexcom added, because I would not say integrated. If things stay the way they are now I would look at the T Slim now that the Dexcom has been added to this pump. I would still be looking to see if the Dexcom was integrated or just added to the package. It should feel like one seamless system no matter who you go with. Medtronic has this feel but the CGM is not as good. The CGM to me is the most important part after the insulin delivery.
Just my thoughts