As many will know by now, this year’s Glastonbury Festival was declared “the muddiest ever” by Michael Eavis. It had rain, sun, and mud. Lots of it. Rather more a case of “Mud trials” than “Field trials”, you could say.
But both of these too:
And it had me, with my 640G and Smartguard enabled. This was to be a whole new exercise in trialling the semi-artificial pancreas. Miles to be walked in thick, sticky mud with completely variable weather conditions. What would the results be and how well would it work?
Well the answer would turn out to be “Superbly” as it happened!
Before we start, what exactly is Smartguard? Well, Medtronic says this about the feature:
“SmartGuard®, our exclusive technology, mimics some functions of a healthy pancreas to provide advanced protection against hypoglycaemia.4*
- Based on your sensor glucose values, SmartGuard® can predict when you are approaching low glucose levels 30 minutes in advance and automatically stop insulin delivery**
- When your glucose levels recover, SmartGuard will automatically resume insulin delivery***.
- You have the possibility to set multiple low limits throughout the day to give you increased protection when you need it most.”
These are the type of conditions that are a challenge for anyone. Wellies at the ready, we were walking through deep, sticky mud that really tested stamina, balance and strength. AFter three days of it my quads were sore. Very definitely a testing workout.
Throughout the time spent marching round the fields, eating frankly rubbish food and drinking far too much cider, I was able to maintain my glucose levels in reasonably good levels. Over the three days of the festival, without altering my basal rate, the stats were what I can only consider to be really good:
- Time below 3.9mmol/l (lower threshold): 2%
- Average glucose level: 6.8mmol/l
- Time above 7,8mmol/l (upper threshold): 29%
- Standard Deviation: 1.9mmol/l (29%)
Coming back to the point about dosing, due to effectively being able to give a superbolus whilst maintaining a basal rate, it was possible to ameliorate the peakiness that often occurs when eating at short notice with no lead time on the insulin. It was surprisingly effective strategy and the Smartguard made it feel a great deal safer than doing it without. There’s definitely something interesting going on in the algorithm.
Ignoring most of the other aspects of pumping at Glastonbury (changing sets, refilling cartridges, etc) I encountered one interesting aspect that was worth bearing in mind when looking at pumps. Most of those on the market currently use an AA battery as the power source. These do run out, and on the Sunday morning, mine ran out. Having forgotten to pack spares I had to drop in to one of the festival shops and buy a pack. While I’d probably have recharged a pump unit before I took the spare with me, it does show that when you have memory failure and forget to take something with you, having the ease of access to batteries that AAs provide is a boon.
So what did I take away from my “Glastonbury Field Trial”?
There were a few conclusions:
- Smartguard works, for me, really effectively
- Enlite II Sensors aren’t anywhere near as bad as I had heard them to be – notably I’ve seen fewer compression lows with them versus the Dexcom sensors
- With Smartguard in place, I was able to be more aggressive in my bolusing which made managing eating significantly easier
- I didn’t have to worry about changing basal rates in an environment where I was being more active than usual. Smartguard managed this for me
- Carrying no additional gear around with me for CGM was a massive benefit. At Download with xDrip, I had a phone and the xDrip box, which I had to keep dry, and more importantly charge. Okay, so there’s no watch app with this, but not needing to charge the other bits is a godsend.
Leave a Reply