Medtronic CGM v. the Dexcom

Through most of this week, I was testing the Medtronic CGM side by side w/ my Dexcom. And I mean, literally, side by side. If you'd like, you can see a comparison spreadsheet, here, but these are the bullet points:

* The Medtronic & Dexcom systems had virtually identical overall accuracy. There were a few days the Dex was better, a few days the Medtronic was better and a few days where they were often close to identical.

* The Dex - no surprise here - is a bit more of an Energizer bunny. I'm writing this seven days after beginning my test and the Dex is still cruising. The Medtronic did fine on the restart after 3 days, but I didn't have a charger for the sensor, and yesterday it stopped being any sort of reliable. I had an extra sensor set, but the battery's dead, so that is that.

* That said, like most Dex sensors, I had periods during the week of "???" which is the Dex's way of saying it doesn't know what to tell you. The Medtronic never does that. Sure, there are periods when the accuracy is way off, but I appreciated the consistent guesses at my BG.

* The Dex had less of a lag for me, which is kind of an issue from a distance running standpoint. In my trial, the Dex was about 15 minutes behind real time, and Medtronic was 25. The most telling example of this was when I finished my 7.5 mile run with both systems. A finger stick had me at 127, the Dex was 160 and Medtronic was 200. Within a half an hour, though, they all had settled at the mid 120's. For the real world, who cares? But in the case of distance running, well....

* Not having to carry an extra receiver was true bliss. Again, as a distance runner, I've got plenty to carry, and to not have to carry the Dex receiver was awesome.

* Though I had most feared the Medtronic system because I'd heard it was uncomfortable, I didn't personally find that to be the case. While I have some fears about the larger needle contributing to scar tissue, I found it comparable to the Dex for comfort. This was a huge surprise to me.

So where does this leave us? For one, a little bummed. It's a shame the Medtronic's lag isn't a tad better and that it uses a bigger needle. At the same time, carrying a second receiver (in addition to a pump and cell phone) makes me feel like a handy man. It's a shame we have to make decisions, particularly when there is no perfect choice. Hopefully, I'll make the right one for me.

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