TSA Full-Body Scans Can Cause Insulin Pump, CGM Malfunctions

TSA Full-Body Scans Can Cause Insulin Pump, CGM Malfunctions

| Nov 10, 2012

A report in the October 2012 issue of Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics says that airport full-body scans can cause malfunctions in insulin pumps or continuous glucose monitors.

Other devices, such as CGM transmitters and Medtronic’s iPro recorder, can also be affected by airport body scanners. Those scanners join CAT (computer-assisted tomography), X-rays, MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), and PET (positron emission tomography) as devices that insulin pump and CGM device wearers are advised to avoid.

Regular airport metal detectors, which have been in use in U.S. airports since the 1970s, have no effect on pumps or CGMs.

The avoid body scanner-caused electromagnetic malfunctions, the report recommends that wearers decline full-body scans and ask for pat-downs or metal detector checks instead.

In cases where security personnel refuse such requests, pump and monitor wearers should remove their devices and send them through regular metal detectors before they themselves submit to full body scans.

Before traveling by air, pump and CGM users should consult manufacturers’ websites to download guidelines for protecting their devices and dealing with security personnel and procedures.

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Categories: , Continuous Glucose Monitor, Diabetes, Diabetes Health, Diabetic, Insulin Pump, Medtronic

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Posted by Anonymous on 12 November 2012

I hate flying since the new body scanners started showing up at more and more airports. I always opt out due per Animas' recommendations. That always leads to an invasive patdown that I feel is more suited to going to prison than getting on a plane. The TSA's standard patdown for opting out of the scanners involves repeated genital contact. They call it "resistance", but I call it touching my penis and testicles. That seems excessive for simply getting on a plane.

Posted by Anonymous on 13 November 2012

I can understand removing my pump while going through the scanner, but you want me to remove my CGM transmitter? That gets very costly very quickly. I traveled recently, and each time I went through TSA, after the full body scan, they made me take out the pump and handle it, and then they tested my hands, by rubbing them with a disposable pad, and then scanning it. Not sure what they were testing for. Explosives, drugs???

Posted by Anonymous on 13 November 2012

Can the pump suppliers PLEASE officially notify the TSA about this???? I am given the third degree every time I fly, with TSA agents questioning my knowledge and the expertise of the pump companies, telling me that scanners are completely safe in body scanners. This issue has become very time-consuming and frustrating to me.

Posted by Anonymous on 13 November 2012

I have been wearing an insulin pump for 16 years. Before 9-11 most TSA agents didn't know what an insulin pump was. I fly at least 4 times a year and after 9-11 traveling with the pump and supplies wasn't a problem until I started wearing a Dex Com CGM. Since adding a second medical device I have consistantly taken to secondary inspection. I had been avoiding the X Ray machines until I was subjected to the new more invasive patdowns. On my next flight I went through the X ray machine. I later learned when on the Animas website that Animas did not want their pump users to wear the pump through the X Ray device. After talking to Animas and Dex Com I developed a strategy that has been working for me when going through airport security. I now remove my pump and put it and my CGM receiver in a small bag and hand it to the TSA agent telling the agent that my insulin pump and CGM reciever need to be hand inspected. Since using this procedure I have flown over 5 times through mulitply airports and have not been sent to secondary inspection for the invasive pat down.I do carry letters regarding my devices which I printed off the company websites.
I hope this information can be of help to other travelers wearing medical devices

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