Last month, Dexcom received FDA approval for the latest version of its continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) system, the G6. Amongst a number of improvements to the system, the most highly-anticipated new feature was the elimination of required fingersticks to calibrate the system.
We received a (non-functional) demo of the Dexcom G6 system containing the sensor patch, transmitter, sensor applicator tool, receiver, and an iOS app for our smartphone. Here’s a closer look at the system:
Sensor Patch and Transmitter
For those of you unfamiliar with CGMs, the sensor is a patch that is worn typically on the abdomen and contains a hair-sized wire that continuously and painlessly monitors glucose levels in the user’s interstitial fluid underneath the skin. A small transmitter unit is attached to the patch to send the readings every five minutes to a Dexcom receiver or smartphone via Bluetooth. For the G6’s sensor, Dexcom has managed to increase its longevity from 7 days to 10 days. The sensor also contains a special membrane that blocks acetaminophen from interfering with glucose measurements, as the drug has been shown to give false high blood glucose results. The transmitter has also been completely redesigned and is significantly thinner and more svelte (28% smaller, to be exact) than the G5’s sensor.
Sensor Applicator Tool
The sensor applicator has also been completely redesigned to be much more comfortable to use. With the new sensor applicator, Dexcom has also greatly simplified the sensor insertion process. To use the G6, you simply press the applicator with the patch onto your skin, push the orange button, and lift off the applicator, leaving the patch ready to take readings. Your hands no longer have to do a delicate dance of holding devices still, retracting needles, or moving levers. The applicator also looks far less syringe-like, to the benefit of those who are intimidated by needles.
The Dexcom G6 receiver is used to display glucose readings sent from the transmitter and program alerts. It’s actually an optional component that can be used instead of, or in addition to, a smartphone.
The receiver is a small touchscreen device a little smaller than a smartphone, has a single button to turn the device on and off, charges via micro-USB, and has an internal battery that lasts about two days.
The receiver is physically unchanged from the G5, and current G5 users who are upgrading to the G6 can actually use the same receiver after a free software upgrade.
We would think that most CGM users would prefer to transmit their glucose readings directly to their smartphones instead of carrying around an additional receiver, and Dexcom provides this option via the Dexcom G6 CGM app for iOS or Android. Once paired with a user’s transmitter, the app will automatically receive glucose measurements. The data can be also be displayed on the Dexcom Apple Watch app, shared with up to five people with a separate Dexcom Follow app, or shared with your doctor using the Dexcom Clarity platform.
New to the G6 is a predictive hypoglycemia alert for when your glucose is trending toward 55 mg/dL in less than 20 minutes, which allows users time to take appropriate action before an event happens.
The Dexcom G6 Continuous Glucose Monitoring System will be available to ship to most users in early June.
Product Page: Dexcom G6 CGM System…
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