Maybe It’s In The Design

I’ve been trying to wear the new Enlite sensors from Medtronic for a month now and have only had success with two of them. I’ve also been trying to find out what is going wrong with them when I wear them to throw them off so much. The only thing I can come up with is the same as everyone is telling me (trainers, helpline people, etc) – the head of the sensor is just moving too much or it’s getting jostled.

While I thoroughly tape my sensors down and I don’t see how they could have any room whatsoever to move, I guess there is a remote possibility. But what puzzles me is why they went with the design that they did. If the key to success with the sensors is to not have it move, then why not create a head to the sensor to be more secure by making a more stable plastic base for the head of it and a wider tape area?

This is my thought process: Take for instance the Dexcom sensors. If you’ve ever seen one, they are made in a plastic base that is attached to a larger tape that goes all the way around the sensor. Also, the sensor is inserted at about a 1/3 or 2/3 position of the sensor base (imagine two lines equally spaced on top of the sensor base… it would fall on one of those lines.. like, almost where the G is on the Dexcom transmitter shown in the picture), and so it is surrounded by lots of tape as well as a wide plastic base on top that prevents it from moving or being jostled. That sensor is so protected, it’s hard to say that anything could knock it and cause the filament to break or bend. (Not to mention, it’s inserted at an angle, so you don’t have to worry about pressure directly on it causing the sensor to go deeper and possibly hit muscle or something and bend from that.)

I think Medtronic (FINALLY) has a good *comfortable* sensor, but that it’s design and base design doesn’t help it be the best it could possibly be. There’s not much tape there on the bottom. And considering the transmitter connects on the side of it and not on top, one would think that the head of it would need more security anyway due to the possibility of the transmitter being knocked, causing pressure on the head of the sensor to move. So, maybe if they created a more solid base for the sensor head. If it were sitting on a flat, thin “sheet” of plastic with a bed and possibly a 1/4 – 1/2 inch rim of tape going all the way around it, it would help to anchor it a bit better and keep that fragile sensor from moving.

I don’t think we should have to worry about taping the darn thing so much just to keep the head of it steady. I think the design needs to be centered around the optimum stability of the sensor head.

But what do I know, I’m not a rocket scientist or anything. Just a (successful) Dexcom user for 4 years who is trying to make these Enlite sensors work and not fail.

3 thoughts on “Maybe It’s In The Design”

  1. I think they do these design things so that it can always be “your fault” when they don’t work very well. As much as I wish the G4 transmitter was smaller, there is no doubt that it works great. I average 2.5 weeks per sensor and hardly ever get less than 2 weeks.

  2. I have found that I only get about 4 days out of my Enlite sensor (which I understand is supposed to last 6), before things go all crazy with it and readings are so far off. Given how expensive these are, it is frustrating that they are not lasting as long as they should. Love it when it works, but it needs to work better. I just found your blog today and am so excited to follow and see how this continues to work for you. As I was just diagnosed in September with T1D, this is my first experience with a pump and CGM.
    Thanks for sharing.

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