Abbott Freestyle Navigator CGMS User Story
*** This begins a series of articles we will be starting about CGMS (Continuous Glucose Monitoring System) by one of our diabetic contributors here at the Diabetes Care Group. ***
By Timothy D.
For those who do not know, CGMS or CGM is a relatively new tool for diabetes that monitors blood sugar constantly. The systems available from Minimed and Dexcom check blood sugar every 5 minutes. Abbott and their Freestyle Navigator checks blood sugar every minute.
CGM devices have similarities in appearance to insulin pumps. However all available systems are wireless.
Unfortunately, many insurance companies have made it a practice to deny insurance coverage of these life-changing advances in diabetes treatment. For me, I was denied even the opportunity to submit a claim for one. The only DME coordinator (EMP Medical Services) that my insurance, BCBSFL, would work with refused to even take the order for the Navigator or any other CGM device. In my opinion they are setup to be a firewall for CGMS. This is some frustration on my part about insurance companies, but really this is a whole other story. For now I chose to pay out of pocket. If Abbott would like to sponsor this site by delivering my sensors free I would happily accept. :-)
My journey with CGM begins with the Freestyle Navigator. In this article I'll document my reasons why I have chose to go with the Navigator. This article is being written as I wait for the Navigator to be delivered from UPS.
When I first started looking into CGMS I was initially interested in the Dexcom 7 system. I liked the fact that it was approved for 7 days by the FDA and that the transmitter was the smallest available. However after talking to many Dexcom users they personally told me that the Navigator was better. They advised that accuracy, stability and features were better than what Dexcom was offering. After speaking to many users that had the same opinion and virtually none with the opposite viewpoint it was clear to me that my preference for CGM would be the same as my preference for Blood Glucose Meters - Freestyle.
Here are several key features that swayed my decision to choose the Navigator:
1) Sensor tests sugar every minute. This is opposed to testing every 5 minutes with the other available CGM devices on the market (Dexcom, Minimed).
2) Vast multitude of Navigator users who gush about their user experience. True the whole experience is not perfect. However overall they appear to be very satisfied and do not desire other CGM brands.
3) Large community from other CGM devices who feel the accuracy needs improvement in their CGM brand.
4) TRU Directional System allows you to detect trends for high or low blood sugar. This system seems to be the most refined available. Dexcom does not have a version of it, while Minimed does.
5) Approved by the FDA for use in the arm. The only CGM device with that approval currently as I am writing this.
6) The reported wireless range of the Navigator is said to be much farther than specified while Dexcom has a very poor wireless range reported by actual users. Minimed has it attached to the pump.
Now while these are some of the key reasons why I decided on the Navigator there are some concerns I do have about it.
According to Navigator users the taping of the sensor leaves something to be desired. Most seem to agree that the adhesive system from Dexcom and Minimed is better and more comfortable to wear. To compensate for this I have taken the advice of many Navigator users and purchased Opsite Flexifix Tape (4" x 11 yards) and Mastisol liquid adhesive. I've also got a few skin tac wipes (although I understand Abbott recommends not using skin tac). I should be prepared for this.
The Navigator transmitter is also the biggest transmitter out there, this is a cosmetic issue. Some do complain about the initial 10 hour warmup for the Navigator but that is tempered with needing the fewest calibration checks for any CGM. That is in my opinion an even trade off.
I am an active person so there is a little concern that I may lose a sensor during a basketball pickup game. To prepare for this I am considering purchasing one of those arm sleeves that players wear to insure the sensor/transmitter stays on.
To make sure that calibration takes place without a hitch I've also planned that the initial calibration will take place during a time when sugars are usually the most stable - first thing in the morning on my day off.
I think and hope that all of this is pointing to the fact that I am prepared and ready to take advantage of the Navigator without any hitches.
All that's left now is the waiting for UPS to show up and of course a visit from the Navigator rep and training.
Check out my future articles and videos as I share my Navigator experience with you coming as soon as that UPS truck gets here...
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