Guardian Connect Review

Guardian Connect Review

A couple of weeks ago I was fortunate enough to try Medtronic’s Guardian Connect CGM system.

But what is the Guardian Connect?

The Guardian Connect is a CGM (Continuous Glucose Monitoring) system essentially for people who use injections to manage their type 1 diabetes. The system enables you to check your glucose levels anywhere and anytime on your mobile device just by clicking on the corresponding app which makes it very discretely. So basically you could be on the bus or the train, at university or work, while taking a quick look at your phone and nobody would even know that you were just checking your sensor glucose levels!

So without further ado – let’s continue with this review! 🙂

Facts Facts Facts!

So here are some facts about the Guardian Connect CGM system:

  • Wear time: 6 days (Extending the sensor is possible; the sensors are recommended and only approved for six days of use)
  • Transmitter needs charging
  • Needs a calibration every 12 hours, stops showing any values when you don’t calibrate
  • Sends warnings to other people via SMS
  • Waterproof up to 2.5 meters for up to 30 minutes
  • Stand-alone system – Guardian Connect transmitter and pumps are not compatible
  • Only compatible with iOS devices
  • Shows trends in your glucose levels
  • App shows previous days
  • Customizable alerts: Predictive high and low
  • Transmitter stores up to ten hours of data, if connection is lost and then re-established it uploads it to the Connect app

And how does it work?

There are 3 key elements: The sensor, the rechargeable plastic transmitter (which gets attached to the sensor) and the Guardian Connect app (only compatible with iOS devices).

The system continuously measures glucose levels in the interstitial fluid and sends it to the Guardian Connect app every five minutes (you’ll receive 288 readings every day). On the app you can see your glucose values, as well as trends (whether your levels are going up or down). You can also customize predictive alerts for highs and lows, which makes it easier to react before it occurs. The transmitter communicates with the app via Bluetooth connection whereas to send data to the CareLink Personal, wireless connection is used. Care partners can also receive SMS messages for any applicable alerts.

Insertion, Set Up & Calibration

Insertion:

What you need:

  • Sensor package
  • Inserter
  • Overtape

How you do it:

The insertion process is very quick, first you need to make sure that the transmitter is fully loaded (it takes about 2 hours to charge). Then you remove the sensor with the pedestal from the packaging and make sure that the sensor’s adhesive is tucked under the sensor connector and snaps. After that you load the sensor into the inserter and detach it from the pedestal. You then chose where you want to place your sensor, place the inserter on the cleaned site and press and release the button on the inserter. Wait a couple of seconds to allow the adhesive time to stick to the skin until you remove it from your body and gently take out the needle housing. Then you untuck the adhesive tab, tape the sensor with the overtape, connect the transmitter to the sensor and finally fold over the adhesive tab onto the transmitter. 

I normally put some tape on top simply because I tend to rip out everything whenever I am passing a door frame 😉 

Set up:

Depending on the person, it can take two to three hours to set up the sensor. First you have to insert the senor, pair the transmitter and set up the app.

Calibration:

The sensor requires a calibration at least two times per day at least every 12 hours. Though it can ask for additional calibrations to improve accuracy. 

The App

  • The Guardian Connect app is currently only available for iOS devices (iOS 9 and above) however Medtronic is currently working on making it compatible with Android devices. You can download the app for free by visiting the Apple App Store.

The transmitter sends the most recent readings from your sensor to the app every five minutes while the transmitter and the mobile deivce are in operating range (up to 6 meters). If the devices are not within range, the data will re-established once you are back in range.

Basics:

The sensor glucose readings are displayed as a graph, which can be viewed in either the 3, 6 or 12 or 24 hours version. By clicking on „now“ you can get a closer look on previous readings from specific days. 

Alerts:

You get alerts when…

  • the sensor’s battery is running low
  • the sensor is close to expiring
  • calibration is needed
You are also able to customize your high/low alerts or when the sensor glucose is falling or rising very quickly. 
 

Logging like a pro:

By clicking on the plus button you can log

  • activity
  • insulin doses
  • notes
  • carbs
  • blood glucose level (for calibration)

Trends:

One, two or three up/down arrows appear when your sensor glucose readings are changing more rapidly. 

Widget: 

By enabling Guardian Connect in the Notification Centre you can add a widget to your lock screen which displays the most current sensor glucose reading.

SMS Alerts:

 The Guardian Connect system lets patients share their CGM alerts with up to 5 care partners, via SMS, using the CareLink Connect service.

The care partner will not receive any SMS alerts if the app can’t connect to the Internet.

Carelink Personal:

The Carelink Personal enables you to insight reports to discuss your levels and therapy changes and adaptions with your doctor.

Pros:

  • The system communicates directly with the smartphone
  • Enables you to monitor your glucose readings very easily anytime and anywhere by using the Guardian Connect App
  • Offers SMS alerts for parents, friends, etc. if sensor glucose levels rise or or fall beyond the targeted range
  • Customizable alerts
  • Waterproof transmitter

Cons:

  • Only compatible with iOS devices
  • Not compatible with pumps 
  • Not compatible with iWatch
  • Alert volume

Personal experience and conclusion:

What instantly caught my eye was the beautiful design of the app, which I really really liked.
Having the app on your smartphone also makes it really easy to keep update on what your glucose readings are doing no matter where you are! You can just open the app on the train, at university or work and nobody would even notice that you are checking on your levels.
One thing that I am missing though, besides making it compatible with pumps and Android devices, is being able to track my CGM data on my apple watch.
Another very helpful think for me is that the app would always fill in missing sensor data whenever I lost connection as soon as the app and the transmitter where reconnected.
As for the alert volume I have to say that it certainly was not loud enough for me, especially during the night or on the go – most of the time I would not even notice them.
Regarding sensor accuracy – the readings where very very exact nearly 90% of the time.
All in all, I really enjoyed using the Guardian Connect system. Especially being able to see what your blood sugar diva is doing anywhere and anytime is really helpful. Given that the Guardian Connect CGM is a stand-alone system, it is very suitable for sweet peeps who use daily injections or a pump without the ability to communicate with a CGM. 

Disclaimer: Medtronic complementary offered me to try the Guardian Connect CGM system. I have not been asked to write this or post about it. All opinions are 100% my own. 

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