[IP] MM story AP Medical News
Medtronic: Insulin Pumps Not Waterproof
Email this StorySep 10, 2:42 PM (ET)By KARREN MILLS
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Medtronic Inc. (MDT) warned doctors and patients that two of
its insulin pumps that were sold as waterproof can develop stress cracks over
time and take in water.
The company said people should not wear Medtronic MiniMed Paradigm 511 and
Paradigm 512 insulin pumps while swimming or participating in other water
activities where the pump would be submerged because the water can cause the
pump to shut down.
Spokeswoman Deanne McLaughlin said Wednesday that the pumps, launched a year
ago, were tested in 3-foot-deep water for 30 minutes at the MiniMed
manufacturing plant in Northridge, Calif. They were considered waterproof when
shipped, she said.
"But over time, as people have used the pumps, the Paradigm has developed
stress cracks," McLaughlin said Wednesday. This summer, when people began
swimming more, Medtronic noticed more pumps were being returned due to water
exposure, she said."It's OK if it's splashed or dunked in water briefly,"
Medtronic also recommends that patients disconnect the pumps when showering.
An insulin pump consists of a pump reservoir filled with insulin, a small
battery operated pump and a computer chip that allows the user to control how
much insulin the pump delivers. It is contained in a plastic case about the size
of a beeper connected to the body by a thin plastic tube inserted just under the
The pump delivers a small amount of insulin continuously to keep blood sugar
levels stable between meals and overnight. The user sets the pump to deliver
additional insulin when food is eaten.
If the pump turns off due to water damage, the pump's screen will go blank and
its activation buttons won't work. If that happens, patients should check their
blood sugar levels and treat any high blood glucose with an insulin injection,
the company said.
"If there's anything that happens to the pump with water, we definitely will
replace the pump," McLaughlin said.
Medtronic voluntarily notified the Food and Drug Administration of the problem
and sent out letters to physicians and patients using the pumps.
"Right now, we are going through and changing everything on our Web site to
reflect (the change) and we're reviewing other sites that may have it to notify
them," McLaughlin said.
Medtronic hopes to develop a future model that will remain waterproof over
time, she said.
Karren Mills can be reached at kamills(at)ap.org
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