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Re: [IPp] Decisions, decisions?
In a message dated 4/29/2002 11:05:10 AM Mountain Daylight Time,
email @ redacted writes:
> Talked to my new Endo. Told him I've narrowed our pump choice down to
> MiniMed's Paradigm or Animas' R-1000. He says not to be persuaded by the
> waterproof feature because kids drop their pumps. What do you experienced
> pumpers think?
I'm not sure what he's talking about -- unless he's refering to the problems
with cracked cases on the Disetronic H-trons that caused the company to
remove the waterproof guarantee for that pump model . . . Waterproofness
(is that a word?) was a major factor under consideration when we were
choosing a pump for our daughter (now 11). The Animas pump has the highest
waterproof testing level of any of the pumps available (24 hours at a depth
of 24 hours). In contrast, the Paradigm's tested at (I believe) 8 feet for
30 minutes -- which to me isn't worth much for a pumper like my daughter
(more about the waterproof issue below).
> I do like the fact that Animas' basal increment is 0.05 u,
> is this something we will not need compared to 0.1 with the Paradigm? What
> about the Basal profiles - 3 versus 4?
Though we didn't expect it to matter, the .05 basal increment was very
helpful for us in fine-tuning my daughters overnight basal rates. As for the
number of basal profiles, my opinion is that 3 or 4 is not a significant
difference and I wouldn't make that a deciding factor on the choice of a pump
. . .
We actually use three profiles out of the four the Animas pump has most of
the time (Regular Days, Weekends -- when sleeping in, and one for Sleepovers
at other people's houses). I do use the fourth one when I want to fiddle
with her Regular basal -- I leave one basal profile set with the regular
profile we've been using and use the fourth to try out any changes -- that
was it's easy to just switch back to the old basal profile if the changes we
try out don't turn out to be right . . . but, as I said, being able to do
that is a minor convenience and I personally wouldn't care much if I was
"limited" to only 3 basal profiles -- other features, in my opinion are much
more important to consider . . .
For example, the limited insulin capacity of the Paradigm pump would be a big
factor to me if choosing a pump for a boy just heading into adolescence. I
don't know what your son's daily insulin use is currently, but since he's
only 13 you can expect that sometime in the next 4 years (the warranty period
on the pump -- so you're pretty much stuck with your choice for that long),
his insulin use is likely to increase substantially for a period of time due
to insulin resistance from hormones (it's not unusual for adolescents
insulin requirements to more than double . . .60-100 units a day or more).
Unlike most pumps which have a cartridge capacity of about 300 units, the
Paradigm only holds 175 units which, after you prime your infusion set,
effectively only leaves you with about 150 units (and that's assuming you
want to let your child use every last drop of insulin in the cartridge before
you change it). A capacity of only about 150 units could mean that at some
point you would have to be filling and changing cartridges every other day,
or even daily . . .
Here is a link to a series of web pages on the Diabetes Mall website that I
think do a good job of pretty objectively reviewing the various pumps
currently on the market: <A
Diabetes Mall Pump Reviews - Spring 2002</A> You might want to read through
these to help you in making your decision.
> What about infusion sets- minimed's
> quickset vs the paradigm's? (my son who'll be pumping is 13)
You can get the Quick-set (which my daughter uses) in the standard version or
in the Paradigm-only version. The only difference is in the connector at the
pump end of the infusion set. The Paradigm-only version uses a non-standard
connector that can only be used on the Paradigm pump. In my opinion, this is
another drawback of the Paradigm: Because of their choice to use a
non-standard connection, Paradigm users are limited to using only the three
types of infusion sets for which Minimed (Medtronic) produces a special
Paradigm version: the quick-set, the soft-set, and the silhouette. Granted
these three sets will meet the needs of most pumpers, but what if your child
ends up needing to use one of the other sets currently available (or one of
the new ones that will be coming out over the next year or two)?
ALL the other pumps on the market (including the Minimed 508) use the
industry standard leur-lock connection. As a result, you can use ANY
infusion set made by any company on ANY pump made by any of the manufacturers
(EXCEPT the Paradigm) . . . The benefit here is that you are not limited in
your options. So, for example, my daughter is currently able to use the
Minimed Quick-set infusion set that she prefers (and which works well for her
in terms of BG levels) on her Animas pump. And if some other new type of set
comes out that would better serve her needs, she'll be able to use that set
on her Animas pump too . . .
Below my sig line, I've appended a write up I posted in response to other
peoples inquiries about the Animas pump and why we chose it for our daughter.
I hope you;ll find that useful . . . In the end the choice of a pump
should be an individual decision based on the needs and preferences of the
pumper. They are all "good" pumps in the sense that they can get the basic
job done -- the trick is figuring out which set of features are going to help
your son be the most successful pumper he can be . . .
Pumpmama to Katie (11, email @ redacted) happily pumping with her Animas pump "Elvis"
Here's the "reprint" on my previous post on why we ended up choosing the
When we were pump shopping (a little over a year ago) , we did a lot of
research and really looked at things carefully. In the end, the reality is
that they are ALL "good" pumps (couldn't get FDA approval if they weren't)
and that selecting a pump should be an individual choice based on the needs
and preferences of the pumper (and the parents, in the case of a child).
In the end, my husband, daughter, and I ended up choosing the Animas R-1000
pump as the "BEST" pump for her. She's been pumping for almost 10 months now
and with that experience under our belts, I'm happy to say that we are
extremely happy with our choice. We love the pump and have been very happy
with Animas as a company. Not only has the service been first rate, but
every person we've dealt with has been just plain nice.
Here are some of the things we like about Animas pump:
IT'S WATERPROOF -- THIS WAS A MAJOR FACTOR FOR US!
Animas has the highest waterproof rating (Tested at 12 ft for 24 hours). I
paid attention to that one because my daughter is half fish . . . Although
she *can* disconnect, she virtually never does except to hook up a new set
every three days. And, by staying connected (1) you get to take full
advantage of those finely-tuned basals you work so hard to get, and (2) if
you wear your pump all the time, it's easier to ignore tha fact that you've
got this thing connected to you (kind of like how you don't feel your wedding
ring on your finger).
In the shower, she just clips her Animas pump to the shampoo rack. In the
tub, she just sets it on the ledge next to the tub (so as not to cook the
insulin). In the pool, she just clips it to he bikini bottoms.
Last summer, we spent three weeks in Hawai`i. In the ocean or in a murky
lake, I ask her to put it in a neoprene sports belt just because I didn't
want to have her $5,500 pump get knocked off during some horseplay and end up
in Davy Jones locker!. She wore her pump in the ocean at least once a day
while we were there. She also wore it kayaking and snorkeling. This summer
she plans to try surfing . . .
The thing I like about her staying connected is that she has her pump (with
insulin!) with her at all times if she needs to bolus (like if we kayak out
to the little island in the bay with a picnic) or if she's just not playing
hard enough in the water to make up for all her normal basal
requirements(then she just has to punch a couple buttons to do a bolus that
will give her the insulin she needs).
Plus, then we don't have to worry about finding a safe place at the pool or
beach to store the pump where the insulin won't get roasted, or the pump
won't get lost, damaged, or stolen (as happened to one poor fellow on the IP
this past summer who stashed his pump in a little cooler which someone ran
off with while he was swimming in the local pool).
I know some pumpers prefer to disconnect when swimming, and some don't have
an option because their pump isn't waterproof, but for us, her having a
has been great.
IT'S EASY TO USE . . .
Using the pump (to do a bolus, set up a basal profile, change the clock when
it's daylight savings time, etc. etc.) is a snap because this pump is all
menu driven. If you can read English (or whatever language you request for
your pump) you can run the pump. You don't have to memorize anything, just
read the screen. It's like using an ATM machine. Go try it for yourself on
the "Virtual Pump" on the Animas web site (www.animascorp.com).
My daughter mastered it in minutes and we weren't far behind. There's a 24
hour customer service line if you ever have any questions or problems, but we
haven't opened the manual since pump start let alone needed to call customer
service about how to do something on the pump.
YOU DON"T HAVE TO BE AN ENGINEER . . .
All the "mechanical" stuff is easy -- even if you're NOT mechnically inclined
. . . Filling Cartridges (with insulin) is like drawing up a syringe (and
takes about that long). Then you just drop in in the chamber, close the
little door, twist on the infusion set of your choice (unlike the Paradigm,
Animas uses the industry standard Luer lock connection) and you ready to
roll. Changing batteries is that simple too -- plus they use a standard
"357" battery that you can pick up at Walmart, Target, or a pharmacy if you
ever need to (though the ones from Animas are cheaper and seem to last
longer) -- but a least you're not stuck if you forget to pack extra pump
batteries when you go on vacation . . . some pumps require special batteries
that you can only get from the pump maker.
AESTHETICS AREN"T EVERYTHING --- BUT DON"T TELL THAT TO KATIE
How the pump looked was very important to my daughter. The Animas pump is
small and thin and (most importantly to her) looked like a pager. She also
really liked all the snap-on covers you can get in something like 20
different colors including metallics and irridescents. They also have
re-usable pump cover stickers in various sports and holiday themes. You can
"try on" a few of the pump cover colors on the "virtual pump" and the pump
cover stickers are in the "autumn" newsletter on page 4 (also on the web
Animas has the lowest hourly basal rate increment (.05 uph), a feature that
we didn't think would matter to us -- but we later found that being able to
adjust our hourly basals in increments of five hundredths of a unit per hour
(instead of one tenth of a unit increments like other pumps) did actuallly
make a difference when fine tuning Katie's overnight basals.
The Animas pump allows you to set up up to four basal profiles (basal
programs) to deal with different types of situations that affect you basal
insulin needs. We weren't sure how much we would use this feature, but it
too has come in handy. We've played around with several different profiles,
and right now we have set up three profiles: School Days, Weekends, and
Sleepovers. It's so handy to have these already set up. It's very easy to
just switch from one to the other.
We also use the temporary basal feature which gives you lots of options to
raise or lower your basal rate by percentages for periods ranging from a half
hour up to 12 hours. We use this feature a lot to prevent lows related to
exercise. Katie likes not having to eat right before/during exercise just to
keep from going low.
The Animas R-1000 performs 1,000 safety checks per minute (hence it's name).
It also has powerful motor to overcome potential occlusions coupled with the
most sensitive occlusion detection system of any pump on the market. I also
like how I can set maximum limits on basals and boluses to help keep my
daughter from accidentally doing a bolus of 14 units when she really meant to
do a 1.4 unit bolus (and then change those limits based on what we need them
As I said, these are some of the main things we like about the Animas pump.
You may find some of them aren't of interest to you, or that other features
of the pump are of more interest.
The thing you need to do is to review each pump's features and figure out
what the benefit of that feature would be to a pumper, whether that benefit
even applies to you, and how important it is to you.
An example I can give you is audio boluses. Now I think that all the pumps
currently available offer this feature, however, if one didn't, but offered
other features we wanted the lack of the audio bolus wouldn't matter us
because that's a feature we never use -- I want my daughter to visually
verify the bolus amount before she activates the pump to actually deliver the
bolus of insulin (therefore we have that feature turned "off" on her Animas
pump even though it has the capability).
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