Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

JediSkipdogg

Dexcom G4 - Review

44 posts in this topic

So today I received my Dexcom G4. Hooked up at 5:37 pm and did my first calibration/reading at 8:00 pm. Here is my initial review of it so far and when I have time off next week I'll try to add some photos comparing it to the Dexcom Seven Plus.

 

The device looks dead on the original iPod Nano. The screen is bigger, but other that that, it looks like an iPod Nano turned sideways. Personally, I feel this may make it more susceptible to theft if one doesn't keep it on them at all times. The charging port is on one end and is a Micro USB with a little slide cover over it to keep dirt/water out. I do not believe this is water resistant at all though because there is nothing covering the small speaker port. I love the charging change to a USB because it happens to be the same USB my cell phone uses, therefore I have a million cables to charge it with.

 

The G4 transmitter is bigger than the Seven Plus transmitter. I believe this reason is because of the communication method and the bigger battery. This supposedly has a transmit range of 30 feet which makes me think it's Bluetooth. I would say the G4 transmitter is maybe 2-3 mm higher on the skin than the Seven Plus transmitter. It's big enough that it now actually looks huge. Space wise on the skin it's the same size, just sticks out higher which makes it more susceptible to getting caught on something if you bump it against something.

 

The G4 sensor/inserter is dead on the Seven Plus for the most part. Insertion is exactly the same. I'm told the needle and sensor is slightly smaller and after inserting one I might have to agree. However, I'm waiting till I take it out then I'll see if I can find my old sensor that I took out a few days ago (shouldn't be too far down the garbage) and see if I can visually see a difference.

 

The screen, well, this blows all past Dexcoms away...FULL COLOR. They have also added at the bottom of the screen the hour for what each dash means. On the Seven Plus it was simply a dash and it told you 3hr for looking at a 3hr time frame. The G4 they have eliminated that and now show 7PM 8PM under each dash or if looking further 12AM 6AM 12PM (that would be the 24 hour right now). Everything else is pretty much like the Seven Plus just in a slightly different layout.

 

Volume, I haven't played with all of these yet but they have Vibrate, Soft, Normal, Attentive, and HypoRepeat. Default is Normal and when I tried that out I think I scared my cats. Soft is plenty loud. Normal will definitely wake up the dead while sleeping. Unknown what the other options are yet.

 

Now, the settings. I haven't played too much with all of these so I will post a second review later after I read the manual and see what secrets I can find. You obviously have your user programmable High and Low alert. You can set anything you want for these and even turn them off if wanted. There also is a High and a Low Snooze. What those are is the time before it will alarm again in each of those conditions. If you have it set to 15 minutes, then every 15 minutes you are over say 200, it will alarm. They also have a Rise and Fall Rate alarm. These can be turned on or off and set to 2 mg/dl/min or 3 mg/dl/min. Anytime you rise or fall greater than those, it can alarm. The last alarm option is for Out of Range. Again, you can turn this one on or off and set a time frame for how long before you want it to alarm that the receiver is out of range from the transmitter.

 

I have not tried the software yet so I can't comment on that yet. That will possibly come in Part 2 or 3 of this series.

 

I'll be glad to answer any questions with my limited experience of it so far. In a week I should have some good data with it to review and post some pictures.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I wonder if the Gen4 sensors can be 're-started' like the Dexcom Seven sensors?

 

I will let you know on Wednesday at 4:37 pm EST. That's one feature I love under the Device Info menu. It tells you the date/time of insertion (aka started sensor) and also the date/time/BG of the last calibration.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I read a review of the G4 in Diatribe and it sounds like you can wear the sensor for longer than 7 days like the Seven - you just trick the receiver into thinking you changed the sensor. My endo is a T1 and advocates for wearing the sensor for up to 14 days.

 

I should be getting my system today [excitedly looking out the window for the FedEx guy].

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had to recharge the receiver last night so not looking too promising on the battery life of that and when I first received it before using it I charged it. However, I have "played" quite a bit with it so that possibly has greatly shortened the battery life for this charge. I would imagine the screen kills it quite a bit being colored compared to the old school 1980 screen on the Seven Plus. I'll post more on that after this charge.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know it's only been a week but, how are you finding the accuracy compared to the seven plus?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very if not more accurate. Short of the first 24 hours, it has been within 5 mg/dl during each calibration. I have one that was a bit off but calibration came up at 3 am and it wasn't calibrated till about 3 pm. So it went 36 hours without a calibration and even then it was only 20 off (I think it read low then.)

 

I'll check more when I figure the computer software out. It's only Windows software and therefore I need to install Parallels on my new Macbook I bought earlier this summer before I can install the software. I really wish they would have created some Mac software.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi. I am considering buying the Dexcom G4. Have you ever used Medtronic's CGM? If so, how does it compare? Does the Dexcom talk to your Animas pump?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hi. I am considering buying the Dexcom G4. Have you ever used Medtronic's CGM? If so, how does it compare? Does the Dexcom talk to your Animas pump?

 

I have not used any Medtronic products.

 

The G4 does not currently talk to the Animas Pumps that are offered in the US. The Vibe has been approved in the UK. I believe once the Animas Vibe is approved in the US, it will work with the G4. In my case, I have the Animas Ping and the Dexcom G4 is an entirely separate system with it's own receiver.

I hope that makes sense.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm waiting for my G4. I play competitive soccer 6-7 times a week. Anybody have any thoughts on securing the transmitter during play? A lot of sweat, a lot of bumping, a LOT of scraping. I'd hate to spend that kind of money only to not have it work for my lifestyle. I have no pump so an attached device is new to me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm waiting for my G4. I play competitive soccer 6-7 times a week. Anybody have any thoughts on securing the transmitter during play? A lot of sweat, a lot of bumping, a LOT of scraping. I'd hate to spend that kind of money only to not have it work for my lifestyle. I have no pump so an attached device is new to me.

 

Check out Tallygear's new G4 case and various belts to keep it on you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, K-dub. i'll look into those for the receiver. But for soccer, I'll leave the receiver on the side. It would get TOTALLY trashed in a game. That's why i don't have a pump. I'm worried about the transmitter attached to my body. Can't really take that off. How to keep it from getting ripped off or falling off from sweat?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thanks, K-dub. i'll look into those for the receiver. But for soccer, I'll leave the receiver on the side. It would get TOTALLY trashed in a game. That's why i don't have a pump. I'm worried about the transmitter attached to my body. Can't really take that off. How to keep it from getting ripped off or falling off from sweat?

 

In terms of the pump, you can always disconnect while you play. As for the Dexcom, sweat will most likely reduce the time the sensor will stick to you. Also, the G4 sticks up a bit higher than the Seven, and could very possibly get caught on things. You might be able to place it in a different location where it would be better protected though

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with fantomas.

 

I use Tegaderm IV3000 over my sensors. One complaint that I have of the G4 sensor versus the Seven Plus sensor is that it's higher profile and seems to get bumped more easily.

During a physical soccer game, you may need a Tegaderm plus additional padding over it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thanks, K-dub. i'll look into those for the receiver. But for soccer, I'll leave the receiver on the side. It would get TOTALLY trashed in a game. That's why i don't have a pump. I'm worried about the transmitter attached to my body. Can't really take that off. How to keep it from getting ripped off or falling off from sweat?

 

I am not involved in sports however I do cover my Gen4 with Hypafix to help extend the life of my sensor. The edges of the adhesive on Dexcom Gen4 tend to curl up a little after 4 or 5 days. Since the sensors are not cheap, I would like to extend the life of the sensor past the 7 day recommended period.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for both replies. I'll try the Tegaderm. I'll ask my doctor if they have a trial, maybe even just the transmitter. I'd hate to drop that kind of money on something that just won't work for me. The high profile is exactly the problem. A lower profile, larger surface area would be better for me. I'm glad you mentioned it.

 

I hope i can get it to work. This would be a great asset to my management... and my wife would sleep better.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

an update for anyone reading this. I've had my meter for a week. There is definetly a learning curve. One thing to know is that it is a CLUE, not an ANSWER to where your glucose is.

 

It's kind of like predicting the weather by the wind. The CGM is like the wind. You can use the wind to help indicate where the weather may be heading, but it won't tell you if it's raining, cold, warm or sunny right now. Just that it's windy. Hope that helps.

 

As far as holding it on. The Tegaderm was a fantasic idea. When I play soccer, I have a wrap that's designed to make you sweat. I cut it in half so it's about 3" wide. I wrap it around my waist and the transmitter to help keep it from getting ripped of. So far, so good.

 

Here's the wierd thing. I play indoors on a hockey size field. I leave the receiver on the sideline, behind the wall. I figured I'd loose all the readings while I was on the field. NO! They are all there. I'm WAY more than 20 feet away and there's a hard half-wall between me and it. My guess it that maybe the transmitter buffers the readings and picks them up when I get close enough? I'd be interested in a an answer to this. Anyone from Dexcom read this?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Here's the wierd thing. I play indoors on a hockey size field. I leave the receiver on the sideline, behind the wall. I figured I'd loose all the readings while I was on the field. NO! They are all there. I'm WAY more than 20 feet away and there's a hard half-wall between me and it. My guess it that maybe the transmitter buffers the readings and picks them up when I get close enough? I'd be interested in a an answer to this. Anyone from Dexcom read this?

 

I'm not from Dexcom but I can tell you there is no buffer. This has been confirmed half a dozen times by leaving the sensor at home and driving off to work to find out I left it at home 10 minutes into my trip. A return back and it just has a gap.

 

I can say the range is extremely long and much longer than 20 feet and does work through walls. I've left it on my couch before in my living room and been in my shower. That's two walls and rain and I come out and it didn't miss a result.

 

I think 20 is their safe range as with anything wireless results vary greatly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So how about it OP--did you download the software? I ask because I have spent the better part of the past 3 days trying to get the software to recognize my receiver with no success. I spoke with Dexcom tech support on Sunday, yesterday and twice today when it was escalated to a senior tech advisor. I love my G4 for it's accuracy, but it is not a lot of help to me that I cannot download my readings. :mad:

 

BTW, I was trying the download on two different computers and wouldn't you know the same thing happened on both. One is an old Dell WinXP SP3, and the other is an HP with Win Home Premium SP1. Both computers were updated with the .NET framework updates. Both will not "see" the receiver. The tech support had me uninstall and reinstall the driver several times with no success. Sigh. Any pointers, hints, etc would be much appreciated. *And I do have an MBA as well, but don't have Parallels. If it works on your Mac, I may have to consider trying that route.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I ended up just installing it on my home entertainment PC running Windows 7. It worked instantly with no hiccups. I don't recall having to do anything special. It actually downloads so fast now that I sometimes click twice because I didn't think it downloaded from the receiver. The old Dexcom Seven took about 5 minutes to download, not anymore.

 

I do have my first complaint on the receiver and when I have time I'm calling Tech Support for a warranty repair. The little door slider that covers the USB port broke off. The slider has a metal backing on it that holds it in the grooves. Well, the grooves on the frame are plastic and finally one side broke off which made the sliding door fall out. It is now missing in action.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Could anyone tell me the cost of this system and where to get one from and does it work?:o

 

I'm on limited funds and but would like to have one as I think it would improve my life a lot.

 

Regrds

Reddevil:)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi i have the G4 too and i have used it for a week. I like tha new transmitter size, easy to place in my packet. the seven plus it super big that it is no comfortable to carry in any pants packet. I don't like the red color when my blood glucose goes down, it is not as easy to see as white number. If you had surgery in your eyes, you know what i am talking about.

What really makes me upset and mad it is the bigger size of the sensor. I wish the designer can read our comments, i don't think they even have the need to used it. it is like have a lego piece attached in your skin! really! they shoud make it more invisible, but not, it is more notorios. Maybe because it winter I can hide it but for me that I can wear tie dress and t-shirts, I will have to remove it, also if I go the beach. There is no way to use a bikini and hide that sensor.

 

Dexcom don't have in their website a place where to write a review because all they care its about business. They suppoused to combine the dexcom with the Animas pump but it didn't happened. I think all about business too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi,

 

I've switched over from the 7+ to the G4 and have the following observation. I'm just on my 3rd 4-pack of G4 sensors and I've already had 3 sensor failures reported during the initial 2-hr calibration period. In the 5 years of using prior generation Dexcom CGM's, I think I've only had that many failures total. Is anyone else also experiencing this increased failure rate? The new G4 sensors are reported to be smaller, but in length only or also in thickness too? Luckily, my health insurance has finally started to cover most of the cost of my CGM sensors this year, otherwise, I'd be really upset with the failure rate I'm now seeing. Thanks for any/all replies reqarding this issue.

 

Nick

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hi,

 

I've switched over from the 7+ to the G4 and have the following observation. I'm just on my 3rd 4-pack of G4 sensors and I've already had 3 sensor failures reported during the initial 2-hr calibration period. In the 5 years of using prior generation Dexcom CGM's, I think I've only had that many failures total. Is anyone else also experiencing this increased failure rate? The new G4 sensors are reported to be smaller, but in length only or also in thickness too? Luckily, my health insurance has finally started to cover most of the cost of my CGM sensors this year, otherwise, I'd be really upset with the failure rate I'm now seeing. Thanks for any/all replies reqarding this issue.

 

Nick

 

I've been using Dexcom since Sep 2007 and have never had a failure during the calibration period. I started the Dexcom Gen4 in Nov 2012 and have not had a failure with that either. Some of my sensors don't last more than 10 days, but most last 14 or longer. It does help if I install a sensor about 8 hrs before trying to start the sensor - so the sensor needle itself can get aclimated to the place where I put it. I've also noticed it helps accuracy if my BG is within target range when I install it. Failures can be most frustrating and I'm sorry you've experienced this happening to you. Have you called Dexcom help line and spoke with someone there? They used to replace sensors that have failed, I don't know if they still do that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites