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[IP] Disetronic v. Minimed pump comparison


In response to your question about comparisons between the MiniMed and the Disetronic pumps, below is a comparison I recently posted to the diabetes.com message board.  At the end of my 4 years with my Disetronic pumps, I could have chosen to have my original Disetronic pumps inspected and reprogrammed for 4 additional years of use, upgrade to a Disetronic H-Tron plus, or upgrade to a MiniMed 507C (MiniMed would take the Disetronic for trade-in credit).  I decided I definitely wanted to upgrade, so it was between MiniMed and Disetronic.  After reviewing the features of both pumps, I decided that they each had features going for them, and that they were about equal in my ratings.  So I finally decided to try the MiniMed simply because I thought that it would be interesting to try something different.  I have been happy with both companies' products, and so my best advise for you would be to review the features each offers and make your decision based on that.  Please note that the following are my opinions only... I am not trying to promote one pump over the other.  I am simply posting a comparison based on my experiences.  Here is the comparison I wrote previously:

I have been using the pump for about 6 years now... the first 4
years I used a Disetronic H-TRON, and the last couple years
I have been using a MiniMed 507C. I have been happy with
both products, and they both seem very reliable... you would
probably be happy with either pump.

Plusses for the Disetronic H-TRON:
- Waterproof
- Better audio bolus (easier to find buttons through clothing,
and easier to program - I find the audio bolus on the MiniMed
pretty useless as I usually ended up taking it out to look at the
screen anyway)
- You get two pumps with 2 years of life each, 4 years total
(you send each pump in when it hits its end-of-life alarm, and
you can either have them reprogram for another 2 years, or
upgrade). This program may have changed since I owned my
Disetronic. This is nice because you have a backup pump in
case one of them fails, but that never happened to me.
- Silent motor operation, and quicker bolus delivery

Minuses for the Disetronic:
- Replacing insulin cartridge is a little more complex (not by
much, though).

Plusses for the MiniMed:
- Better menu interface and easier to program (but audio
bolus difficult to use)
- More software/programmability features
- I like the square wave and dual wave bolus options... they
make it easier to match up insulin with slower absorbing foods
like pizza.
- I think the 508 offers different basal rate profiles (like for a
sick day, etc). This feature sounds cool, but I don't have it on
my 507C
- More sensitive occlusion alarm
- Easier to change insulin cartridge than Disetronic
- Backlit screen... this is great at night or at movies. I really
like this feature.

Minuses for the MIniMed:
- Pump has audible "click" when it delivers insulin (it delivers
in 1/10 unit increments, so it would click 10 times for one unit
of insulin). The click is not noticable with normal background
noise (say in a room with a few people talking), but if you are in
a quiet room or a meeting, the click is noticable and might
make you self-concious (although I have never had anyone
come up to me and ask me "what is making that noise"). It
does annoy me sometimes, though (mostly for boluses...
basals are just one click at a time).
- Large boluses can take a while to deliver, because pump
can only do so many clicks in a given amount of time. Count
on just under a minute for one unit, so a 20 unit bolus would
take around 15 or so minutes to deliver. The Disetronic would
probably do 20 units in about 10 minutes (ballpark).

At the end of my 4 years with the Disetronic pumps, I looked
really closely at both the new Disetronic and MiniMed models.
It was a tough decision, so basically I chose the MiniMed
because I wanted try something different.

Some observations on comparing the pumps:
- I sat down and tested the occlusion alarms on both my
MiniMed and my Disetronic by clamping off the tubing and
programming in a large bolus. My MiniMed alarmed at about 2
units, while my Disetronic alarmed somewhere around 8 - 10
units. I never had any problems because of this, and if you
check your sugars regularly you shouldn't either. But it is
something to keep in mind. If you have a low basal rate, and
didn't take a bolus or check your sugar, it might take longer for
the Disetronic to alarm. My theory is never count on the
occlusion alarm to tell you there is a problem (with either
pump). You should be able to spot a problem well before
occlusion alarm by checking your sugar regularly.

- Disetronic and MiniMed pumps deliver basal rates in two
different ways... since the MiniMed can only deliver in 0.1 unit
increments, it takes the basal rate for the hour and evenly
spaces out delivery in 1/10 unit "clicks". The Disetronic, on the
other hand, is not limited to discrete 0.1 unit deliveries, so it
divides the basal rate into 20 even amounts and delivers this
amount every 3 minutes. For instance, if your basal rate for a
particular hour was 1.0 unit, the MiniMed would deliver one 0.1
unit "click" every 6 minutes, whereas the Disetronic would
deliver 0.05 units every 3 minutes. If you had a really low basal
rate (say 0.4 units/hr), the MiniMed would deliver 4 clicks
spaced 15 minutes apart, whereas the Disetronic would still
deliver every 3 minutes (just a very small amount... 0.02 units).
Each company will say it's way is better... to be quite honest I
never had any problems with either basal delivery method. I
have also never had insulin crystalize in the infusion tubing
due to a low flow rate (I have used Humulin R, Humulin BR,
Velosolin, and Humalog, all with no problems).

- I wish I could combine the temporary basal rate methods I
like between the two pumps. I liked the way the Disetronic
pump let me increase/decrease by percentages (10%, 20%,
etc). The nice thing about this was that it makes the most
sense when crossing basal profile changes. This method
maintains the relative shape of your basal profile curve. The
thing I didn't like about the Disetronic temp basal rate was that
you could only set a temp rate up to a maximum amount of time
(4 hours, I think), and at the end of that time you would have to
re-program the temp rate again. Not very handy if you are
sleeping. The MiniMed is very adjustable with the amount of
time for the change, but you have to set the temporary rate to
a fixed value, which doesn't work as well when crossing basal
rate boundaries because instead of taking a percentage of the
original value, now you are stuck at a fixed value (say you set
the temp to 1.2 units... it will stay at 1.2 units even if your
original rate increased in the early morning). This doesn't
maintain the original shape of your basal curve at all... it just
gives you a flat line. This works fine for short term (2-4 hour
changes), but if you are sick and want to adjust for longer you
will probably have to reprogram at basal rate boundaries.

- I really like the square wave/dual wave bolus options on the
MiniMed, especially for slow-to-digest food like pizza. When I
eat pizza, I figure out how much insulin I need and use a dual
wave bolus to deliver half that amount now and the other half
spread out over about 2 1/2 hours. So, typically I would take
16 units total, 8 now and 8 spread out over 2 1/2 hours. This
works really good for me, but don't consider it medical advise
(check with your doctor on how best to use this feature).

- The waterproof feature on the Disetronic is great if you do
alot of swimming or water sports (for extended periods of time).
With the MiniMed, you have to get a waterproof pack to put it
in, or disconnect. If you don't do much in the way of water
sports, or don't stay in the water too long, this won't matter
much to you. For showers, disconnecting is the easiest way to
go with either pump.

Wow - that was way longer than I planned on. But, anyway,
there it is. Like I said, both pumps are very good, and you will
most likely be happy with either one. Take a look at the
features of both pumps and see which one suits your needs
the best... each one has its advantages and disadvantages.
Hopefully my observations have helped, but you should check
around with other people too.

Another thing... don't let the reps use scare tactics to sway
you to their pumps... I ran into this when I was comparing. Both
pumps are very good, reliable, and safe.

There is also a new pump on the market now, I think it is
called the Animas. Don't know much about it, but it looks like it
combines some features from both Disetronic and MiniMed
pumps. You might check that one out too.