To make the right choice between Dexcom G6 vs. Medtronic Guardian Connect, you need to understand both devices and how they have been designed to monitor blood glucose levels. In this Medtronic vs. Dexcom article, we will look at the pro & cons of each device to help guide you along your personal diabetes journey. The purpose is to see the differences between the two devices and which device would work best in your diabetes management.
Table of contents
Does Dexcom CGM Work With Medtronic Pump?
Which is better?
Dexcom is a company that specializes in producing blood glucose management devices to improve diabetes care. The products from Dexcom are designed to empower the diabetic individual to monitor and keep track of their glucose levels, for greater diabetes management.
Dexcom started its operations right back in 1991 with the focus to develop products that improve diabetic patients’ management of glucose levels and improve their overall diabetes management.
Today Dexcom is globally known for its user-friendly continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) devices.
The device we are examining today is the Dexcom G6.
The Dexcom G6 has been created to read the intercellular fluid – which sits just below the skin – to measure glucose levels and send that information wirelessly to one or multiple devices (such as your smartphone, smartwatch, a parent or partner’s phone). Unlike other CGMs on the market, the Dexcom G6 is made up of 10-day sensor and a 3-month transmitter. The Dexcom G6 can also communicate and connect with insulin pumps such as the Tandem T:slim X2 & the Tubeless Omnipod 5 automatic insulin dosage systems.
Medtronic‘s headquarters are in Dublin, Ireland. The company is one of the world’s largest providers of medical solutions. Medtronic’s Guardian Connect CGM is one we are examining and comparing to the Dexcom G6 to see which is the better CGM device.
Medtronic Guardian Connect CGM sensor works by measuring the interstitial body fluid to read the blood glucose level of its user, tracking and alerting if there are changes in blood sugars. The life span of the sensor is 7 days before changing sites and recharging the transmitter.
Users need to take note that when the transmitter is connected to the sensor, the warm-up phase needs to be started immediately, followed by the calibration phase, which must be done 2 hours post-warm-up phase. Then the calibration continued within 6 hours of the first day of insertion of the sensor and whenever reading errors occur.
The transmitters (Guardian Link and Guardian Link 3) can be submerged for up to 30 minutes in water up to 2.4 meters deep. Warnings that can be customized for high and low blood sugar. It can send readings immediately to an app on your smartphone via a Bluetooth connection. As Medtronic also produces its own insulin pumps, the Medtronic Guadian Connect CGM is able to seamlessly connect to provide looping* options.
*Looping: When the Medtronic Guardian Connect CGM is used in conjunction with Medtronic’s insulin pumps, the CGM automatically sends wireless readings of your blood glucose to the pump, prompting an insulin bolus to treat or prevent high blood sugar.
Similarities between the Dexcom vs. Medtronic
Dexcom and Medtronic are similar in a lot of ways. Both companies focus on diabetes management. Each device is categorized as a continuous glucose monitor (CGM), allowing blood sugar levels to be monitored in real-time. The devices are also equipped with features that allow them to connect to smartphones where they track the changes that occur with the blood glucose level and record historical data. The Dexcom and Medtronic CGMs also have alerts when the individual’s blood sugars fall out of range. These alerts come preset but can be customizable to varying degrees.
It is also important to note that both sensor sites will have to be changed every 7-10 days and the sites to be rotated.
Differences between Dexcom and Medtronic
There are certain differences between Dexcom’s and Medtronic’s continuous glucose monitoring devices. It is important to note that Medtronic also produces insulin pumps that seamlessly connect with their CGM devices – in contrast – Dexcom G6 is a stand-alone CGM that can connect to T:slim and Omnipod.
Dexcom G6, launched in 2017, differs slightly from that of Medtronic, which was launched in the same year.
Medtronic sensors generally last for a full seven days, while the Dexcom is ten days.
Medtronic and Dexcom have different transmitters. The Medtronic transmitter battery can be reused multiple times and charged when the battery becomes low. On the other hand, the battery for the Dexcom will have to be changed when it expires. The Dexcom transmitter lasts for three months from activation before expiring.
- One of Medtronic’s strengths is the company’s ability to combine the two components – an advanced insulin delivery system with its CGM – to create a looping management system
- Another advantage is being part of the Medtronic eco-system is that it’s easy to choose an insulin pump
- The Guardian Connect’s transmitter is rechargeable – therefore not need to constantly replace it.
- Medtronic’s CGMs are designed to be worn only on the abdomen and upper arm.
- It runs on Andriod and iOs.
- Data sharing: Up to 4 people with CareLink™ Connect web app (Apple, Google).
- Dexcom as a company specialises in CGMs and prides itself on customer service.
- The G6 can integrate with multiple pumps, such as the Tandem insulin pump and the Omnipod.
- Dexcom G6 can be worn on the abdomen, upper arm, or upper buttocks. However, some of the sites are age specific such as the back of the upper arm, which is best for those above two years or older, and the upper buttock, which is suitable for those between 2-17 years.
- It runs on Android, iOs, and Apple Watch.
- Data sharing: Up to 10 people with the Dexcom Follow app (Apple, Google).
Does Dexcom G6 work with Medtronic Pump?
If you have read this far in this article, you know that Dexcom does not include an insulin pump. There are alternatives, however. The Omnipod Dash is a good fit with the Dexcom G6. There are many other insulin pumps on the market today, just be sure to check the instructions to make sure they are compatible with the system you are using.
In recent news, Medtronic has announced that they have an initiative underway to make a Bluetooth-based pump that will also be compatible with Dexcom models. This wireless connection will make monitoring and tracking individuals’ data even easier.
Which is better, Medtronic vs. Dexcom?
I have lived with type 1 diabetes and while I was searching for the CGM, I found making a decision a bit difficult; then, I tried out the sensor from Medtronic.
My experience was positive, but I also opted to test out the Dexcom G6 to determine the difference. I found that Dexcom had a superior user interface. In addition, the sensor and transmitter were more secure and less complicated.
“Dexcom had a superior user interface.”
Even though the Medtronic sensor and transmitter worked – in my opinion – it didn’t feel safe or it wasn’t as easy to use.
With Medtronic’s technology, I only needed a single transmitter. However, while waiting for it to charge I had to go back to finger-pricking.
When using the Medtronic Guardian, I was required to calibrate the sensor four or five times daily. This made me feel that having the CGM was a waste of time, as I still had to perform many daily finger sticks. But this may be down to the fact that the sensor was coming loose in my daily activities such as exercise and swimming.
Of course, the answer was NotJustAPatch. It is literally “not just a patch” but a symbol of awareness of diabetes. With a non-stick back, unique colors, and designs, it sticks only to the skin and not the sensor, so the sensor is covered and protected. Made from medical-grade hypoallergenic adhesive, it has a wave pattern so that it will stick to the skin and allow airflow. It’s also water resistant.
Back to CGMs, unlike the multiple calibrations I had to do for the Medronic Guadian, I only calibrated my Dexcom sensor once, when I was checking if anything was off. In conclusion, I prefer the Dexcom G6 over the Medtronic Guardian.
Again, it is essential to realize that this is only my experience and that everyone has their own diabetes management method that suits their lifestyle.
- Econom N. Continuous Glucose Monitoring Devices: Past, Present, and Future Focus on the History and Evolution of Technological Innovation – Olesya Didyuk, Nicolas Econom, Angelica Guardia, Kelsey Livingston, Ulrike Klueh, 2021. Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1932296819899394. Published 2021.
- srunyon. Benefits and Features of the Dexcom G6 CGM | Dexcom. Dexcom. https://www.dexcom.com/g6/features-and-benefits. Published July 30, 2019.
- Medtronic. Future of healthcare. Medtronic.com. https://www.medtronic.com/us-en/index.html. Published 2022.