Insulin Pump for International Travel - 670g vs. T-Slim

Hi everyone - I’m new to the forum, T1D currently using an Animas Ping. I originally went with the Ping because Animas/ J&J had amazing global support. With Animas exiting, I’ve been reading posts for months trying to decide whether to go with the Medtronic 670g or the T-Slim. I think I want the T-Slim but have a few questions. One of my #1 reasons for getting a pump is to have good control for international travel:

  1. I recently read a news item where it said the Medtronic 670g button can get “stuck” with a sudden change of air pressure preventing bolus delivery so I’m a bit concerned since I fly a lot. Has anyone experienced this? Bolusing during flight is the main thing I need the pump for, so concerned if this is common?
  1. Does anyone have any experience with traveling abroad (outside the U.S) with the Tandem TSlim where you needed support? How did it go? Just wanting to understand what a small company support is like vs. big global Medtronic support

Thanks for the help!

hi @Jolene7 Jennifer - welcome to Type One Nation.

This may be of little use to you but here goes: The actual FDA web site is not showing a “class 2 recall” or even a Safety Communication yet, but we should all know that government web sites may lag reality.

I have flown with my various medtronic pumps, successfully, globally, for the last 14 years with zero problems of any kind… except for that one time I forgot to pack infusion sets and insulin… but that wasn’t anyone’s fault. Travelling with a pump is easier for me, because of basal rates and not having to adjust the timing of long acting insulin shots. your mileage may vary.

If we just believe the star tribune’s generalization, the problem is with the buttons, meaning you can’t do menus or change settings if the buttons are not operating. you can always disconnect from the infusion set, and if you travel, you should consider travelling with good old syringes and insulin vials anyway… because my friend Murphy says he’ll getcha when you lease expect it.

anyway for what it’s worth, good luck and hope to see you around the forum.

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I have the 670g, but have not experienced the pressure issue first-hand in my two short flights. However, my understanding from other users is that the pressure can be released by opening the battery compartment. Warnings: 1) the sound the pump makes about two seconds after opening the compartment can wake the dead, but may be less disruptive with airplane noise. 2) the pump may reject the current battery if it isn’t new enough for its high standards.

Bottom line: if you get the 670g, make sure to always have extra AA batteries with you while flying.

@joe Thanks for responding! Yes, I definitely always take a backup method with me and loads of extra supplies. At this point the bulk of my luggage and carry on consists of double sets of glucose tables, supplies and frio packs with extra insulin - I haven’t even packed my shoes yet : ) But better safe than sorry!

@rpm3313 - Thanks so much for the great tip on the battery compartment. I chuckled a bit at the thought of those alarms going off on a long haul flight (been there with my Dexcom blaring repeatedly during a bad low and waking up everyone on the plane!). Tip much appreciated if I end up going with the 670g. Cheers!

You are doing the right thing to do your homework on the products. I have only been on Medtronic 670 system for a few months, so perhaps, there is still much for me lean about it. And I have not flown eith it yet. However, the ordeals it has caused me at very important times had let me know that I can’t trust it to behave. While busy, focused on my work or plans, it will inevitably suffer sensor failure or some kind of notification that demands my attention. Therefore, I would only fly if I had a backup CGM on my body. I really need cgm if using pump. Also, it requires a lot of backups. I’ve had sensor failure, then back to back failures on my 2 backups! So, you can see why I’m jaded.

It has helped my control and A1C is improved significantly, however, I can’t imagine traveling extensively with it
I worry about an overnight trip.

I’m not saying that it can’t be done, but I think it will require A LOT of practice. At least I hope I get better at this.

@HighHopes - Thanks so much - I appreciate you sharing your experience with the 670 - definitely agree on the need for the CGM! Thanks much

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