Cyborg Times (new BG meter)

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marke Site Administrator
South East Kent PCT
641 posts

greetings humans Wink I am now a Diabetic Cyborg having been fitted with my Abbott FreeStyle Libre sensor today. I intend to use this thread to keep you up to date with my experiences with the device. Hoepfully it will help you to decide if the device is for you ! Currently the NHS is adamant they won't pay for the sensors which cost £48 and last 14 days. We won't get into the logic and justifications for this at the moment. Lets concentrate on the device itself.

Ok the 'reader' as they are calling it is a BG meter with a touch screen. It can take Freestyle Optium test strips and ketone strips so you can do 'normal' blood tests on it. Part of the reason for this is they make it clear that the sensor measures interstitial fluid and NOT blood, this is the stuff under your skin in the 'flesh'/'fat'. It can lag the BG readings of blood by upto 15 mins, so if you think you are having a hypo they recomend you do a BG test to compare. This is not unreasonable since it is doing 'continuous' testing and looking at trends.

The 'sensor' is a disk about 3cm in diameter with what looks like a pin in the middle. You have to fit it to your upper arm as that is the only location they have fully tested readings from. They recommend that it is slightly at the back of the arm so it doesn't get caught on things. So far I have had no problems with this. If you do accidentally remove the sensor you have to fit a new one you can't re-attach it.
Its supposed to be water proof ( to be verified) and is worn constantly for 14 days. The applicator is a bit like a big lancet device, you open the senser pack put it in the applicator and pushdown on the location you want to fit it. Despite nervousness you don't feel it attach at all !
Once attached you scan it with the reader which logs it and then waits 60 mins before it will start taking readings. This is apparently so
the sensor acclimatises to your body. After 60 mins you just hold the reader over the sensor and it automatically gets all the readings. You can do this through clothes, I did it through a t-shirt AND sweatshirt and it read no problem. It emits a tone to indicate it has made the reading. You can then look at all the readings on the meter.

I will go into the use of the meter reports and the PC upload tomorrow once I have built-up an amount of readings.

marke Site Administrator
South East Kent PCT
641 posts

day 2 in the cyborg house:
Well I have been wearing the sensor for over 24 hours now and to be honest often completely forget I have it attached. The only time is when I almost hit it on a door frame ! So thats why they recommend you wear it slightly on the back of your arm. Taking the readings is very simple, just press a button and hold it near the reader and it just works. Sadly my readings have been outside my target range today, but thats fine as it has shown me that my BG rose from about 3am last night until it hit 15 when I woke up. I dose adjusted as I have been doing and have watched my BG fall durign the morning and stay in range pretty much for the rest of the day. The most interesting thing is the apparent lack of spike post my lunch and dinner. Of course my BG went up but according to the meter it stayed below 8 the whole time ! I intend to change things tonight and see what happens to my BG's. Its really useful to be able to see what was happening overnight.
Being in IT, I only read the meter manual today after I had been using it. Turns out it has a built-in bolus calculator but this can only be enabled by a HCP with a special code, so I can't test that at the moment. I have of course installed the PC software and connected the meter. I'm a bit concerned to find that it only works with the meter connected and it doesn't seem to copy the meter readings to the PC. What happens if I loose the meter ? No readings to view Crying or Very sad I have emailed Abbott to try to get contacts so I can ask about stuff like this and pass the information on. The funniest thing in the manual is the meter has a 'LO' warning, if you go below 2.2 it will just display 'Lo' and the advice is to contact your diabetes team immediately. Quite how they think you will do that whilst having a hypo is highly amusing, they obviously have not got someone to have a hypo and try this advice Very Happy
Well that will do for now, more tomorrow.
Oh one last thing it really is shower proof !

marke Site Administrator
South East Kent PCT
641 posts

day 3 and the beat goes on:
Sensor still attached and causing no problems. The data it is collecting is causing me the problems though. After the first night when my BG soared over night, last night it bumped along around 3 and until about 5:30 when it started climbing to about 8 at 7am. So although there was some dawn phenomenon it was not like the night before. So more info tonight may help. The really interesting stuff is what happens between normal BG tests, all the stuff you don't normally see.
I have to say the only criticism I have at the moment is the PC software which is very rudimentary and not really that useful. It does provide reports that you can view and print and even save as pdf. However the number of reports is 7 ( plus one settings report), of which 3 are variations of the same report over a day, a week , a month. Of course you can't format any of them like a DAFNE log book that might be quite useful. I would like to see a lot more flexibilty in the reporting, I don't know if software for their other meters provides a better range of reports. Given the wealth of data being collected the ability to examine this data would be a lot more useful.
I will feed this back to Abbott if they reply to my email.

Faulty Headl... DAFNE Graduate
Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast
18 posts

Sad I doubt this device will be made accessible for blind and partially sighted diabetics so I can't get excited about this one. I can see how a proper CGM could help me, the ones which alarm to warn you of a low but fingers still crossed that perhaps the next generation one they will think about accessibility and I don't mean beeps and vibrations like the mobile system and pumps. I mean talking. Really nervous now about starting on my pump at end of year. Living on my own now and totally blind but NHS say they will only fund CGM's for special cases.

marke Site Administrator
South East Kent PCT
641 posts

Day 5 ( sorry must have hibernated through day 4):
Well not a huge amount to report, however something that has been raised on other threads that is relevant here. That is that the meter seems to give readings different to my one touch i.e yesterday lunch time the one touch read 8.6 but the sensor said 11.0 , however this lunchtime the meter said 2.6 but the sensor said 3.8 both are low but the meter reading if correct means I really hypo treatment where as the sensor reading is suggesting I need to 'think' about eating something at least in the way I tend to react to lows. Either meter could be out of range but I have no way of telling which it is. At the moment I tend to 'trust' my one touch meter, since I have had it a few years and my HBa1C is within suggested range ( it was 7.0 last time). However the one touch is just giving me 4 readings a day so there is a huge difference in the amount of data collected. I know this is a big issue for a lot of people so If Abbott start talking to me I will ask the questions. On a normal meter you can get test solutions to verify to some degree the restults you get. How can this be done for a sensor that is inserted into your arm, all the meter ( reader) is doing is collecting data from the sensor. Its the sensor that needs the testing and how can you do that with it in your arm ? I will try to find out.
Until next time, Na-Nu, Na-Nu Very Happy

marke Site Administrator
South East Kent PCT
641 posts

Days (6 and 7):
Sorry no post yesterday as I spent the evening being entertained by a musical performance at the O2 Very Happy , however as the saying goes 'a funny thing happened on the way to the forum'... When I tested my BG with my meter at the O2 it said 5.8 when I scanned the sensor with the reader it said 11.2 woah !! sorry thats a huge difference ? One for which I have no explination and worries me slightly. If I trusted the sensor and adjusted accordingly I could have been in trouble. I intend to feed this back to Abbott to try to understand what happened. Today the readings are back in tolerance with my normal meter. If it happens again when I am at home I have dug out a range of meters that I have strips for so I can do a comparision between them all to get an idea of what the correct reading might be by the law of averages.
On another related subject, I was at a Diabetes meeting this evening and a lady said she had phoned Abbott and had been quoted a cost of £160 for the meter and £57 for the sensor ! I will follow this up with Abbott. For one thing I would never pay for a meter, companies give them away to get you to use their strips/sensors which is where they make money. Second £57 is different to £48, this could be a VAT issue or jsut an adjustment of price. I will try to find out.
More news tommorow, hopefully Very Happy

marke Site Administrator
South East Kent PCT
641 posts

Day 8:
Nothing much to report today and judging by the number of people reading this thread there doesn't seem to be much interest in this type of meter. I would have thought that a CGM meter would appeal to DAFNE graduates given the information it provides but it seems not. I will report on any 'interesting' developments over the next week or so until my sensor shuts down, so the information is there in case people consider getting one in future.

marke Site Administrator
South East Kent PCT
641 posts

Day 9:
Not a lot to add apart from Abbott have no responded to emails and so I am asking them a load of detailed questions, if you have any
questions let me know and I will add them to my list. I will update people as and when I get answers. The results from the sensor today are a lot closer to my One Touch readings and are generally well within + or - 20%. The most interesting thing from the last few days is that the biggest spike in my BG is after breakfast in the mornings, perhaps I need to change the cereal I eat ? I will try and see what happens.

sarahg DAFNE Graduate
South East Essex Community Healthcare
29 posts

Hi mark thanks for your review of this kit. I am very interested in this . As I think I would be in a position to self fund this, as it appears to be cheaper than the other CGM out there which just seem to be out of my price range for self funding
I have looked into the other sites about the kit, it appears that the DVLA would not accept results which if this is correct is a real shame, as with the testing regime now in place it would really help out with the extra testing I am finding I now iam doing.
I think that with out funding these new technologies will be out of reach for many, which is a real shame and it does appear to be a post code lottery as to what you get funding on and what kit you can and can't get. Wishing you the best of luck with kit

Peter DUAG Committee Member
University College London Hospitals (UCLH)
105 posts

Mark, I remain convinced that you are testing equipment which will be standard in a few years time. It's as big a change as the move from urine testing to blood glucose monitoring and as such it will take time for the cost to reduce, for the technology to improve and for the likes of the DVLA to "accept" the readings. On the latter point, when I get one (no if in this sentence) then I will not be testing with a monitor before driving and will be happy to argue the case with the DVLA. In my opinion its clear that knowledge of the rate and direction of change in BG gives far more useful information than a slightly more accurate single reading with no information about direction of change.

Anyway, please continue with the updates, even though they're making me jealous javascript:emoticon('Laughing')

In terms of questions, do Abbott give any advice on injecting in the same arm as the sensor is attached?