Artificial pancreas (or “closed loop”) technology is used as a treatment for type 1 diabetes (T1D). The system combines a continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) device, an insulin pump and a control algorithm, which automatically sets the insulin pump basal rate according to blood sugar levels and trends. In other words, the pump adjusts insulin delivery based on blood sugar levels. So, if your blood sugar is high or trending high, your basal rate might be increased to bring your blood sugar levels back in range (or, inversely, decreased if you’re low or trending low). The goal of this system is to reduce part of the burden that people with T1D have to bear every day by helping with diabetes management around the clock.
Right now, the Medtronic 670G system is the only commercial artificial pancreas available on the Canadian market. Health Canada has recently approved two additional systems that will be available soon: Medtronic 770G (an update of the 670G system) and Tandem Control-IQ.
Let’s see how they compare:
Comparison table of two upcoming artificial pancreas systems
|Medtronic 770G||Tandem Control-IQ|
|Continuous glucose monitoring device||Guardian 3||Dexcom G6|
|Number of capillary blood sugar readings required for calibration||At least two per day||None|
|Duration of CGM sensor||7 days||10 days|
|Minimum patient age||Two years old||Six years old|
|Adaptive algorithm||Uses both a set program and an adaptive feature that adjusts according to what works and what doesn’t for the patient.||No word from Tandem regarding a potential adaptive feature.|
|Time spent in range||Teens: 73%|
Children: No available data
|Data upload (e.g., time in range, administered insulin, alarms) |
*Manual: The pump must be connected to a computer.
**Automatic: Data is uploaded in the cloud.
|Manual* or automatic** upload with smartphone app||Manual* upload for the Tandem pump |
Automatic** upload for the Dexcom G6
Both artificial pancreas system options are approved by Health Canada and supported by rigorous research. If you’re looking to use this type of system, make sure to take your needs and insurance coverage into account.
The Tandem Control-IQ seems to offer a number of practical advantages such as the CGM system. The Medtronic 770G, which comes after the 670G, has a solid algorithm and program, and comes with a smartphone app for better diabetes management.
Did you know that you can use a DIY artificial pancreas? To learn more, read this BETTER article.
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- Leelarathna, L., Choudhary, P., Wilmot, E. G., Lumb, A., Street, T., Kar, P., Ng, S. M. (2020). Hybrid closed‐loop therapy: Where are we in 2021? Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism. doi:10.1111/dom.14273
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