I was one of the lucky people who received the early shipments of the Dexcom G6 sensor. This new sensor is being touted as one of the best on the market. If it's anything like its predecessors it'll be the most accurate continuous glucose monitor (CGM) on the market, with some additional features for those looking for CGM perfection.
Some of the new features the Dexcom G6 boasts are:
- No fingerstick calibrations (we'll discuss this)
- 10-day sensor session (we'll also discuss this)
- Easy-to-use senor (the video shows this the best)
- Smaller transmitter (video)
- Urgent Low Soon alert (we'll discuss this)
In this post, we'll discuss a number of topics to give you a firsthand insight into the new CGM from Dexcom. As always, please leave questions and comments below.
But, first, let's take a look inside the box with the first shipment that arrived at my doorstep. :)
What's in the Box?
My shipment arrived last Thursday around 4:00 overnighted from their headquarters in San Diego, CA. The shipment actually consisted of 2 packages. 1 package for the Transmitter and Receiver, and another for the 3 boxes of sensors (with 3 senors in each).
The Dexcom G6 sensor boxes are actually a bit smaller than the Dexcom G5 boxes. Though, unlike the Dexcom G5 sensor box which shipped 4 sensors, my Dexcom G5 sensor box only include 3. I'm assuming that Dexcom has different configurations for customers, but my bet is that boxes will only contain 3, or 1 sensors (those used for replacements).
This makes sense, though. Each box of sensors is meant to hold a 1 month supply. Since the Dexcom G6 sensors are good for 10 days, then 3 would be sufficient for the entire month.
The senors themselves are very different. Dexcom has designed their sensors to be easily applied, without any problems resulting in personal variance in insertion. In order to do this, the sensor is flattened on the Dexcom sensor applicator; which is a spaceship-looking, bulky piece of plastic, with a little orange button and safety lever. The sensors also contain a 4-digit code on them that is to be used upon start-up in order to "log" the usage with Dexcom. (This is how Dexcom manages reusage. The software knows how long each individual sensor has been used and shuts it down after 10 days. SO, DON'T FORGET TO TAKE EXTRA SENSORS WHEN TRAVELING!)
The receiver box was actually pretty cool. It's a little longer than the sensor box (actually its identical to the G5 sensor box) and its contents included the actual receiver, a green connection cable, 2 receiver rubber cases, a charger, and the Dexcom G6 setup guide.
While I don't use the receiver (I use my iPhone), the receiver for the Dexcom G6 is a good size. It's really comfortable to hold and could be a nice backup in the event that your phone is not accessible. The screen is large and has the ability to give you some great data...not as much as your smart phone can, but it does the trick.
In addition to the receiver, there was also a nice supersize underneath. Upon lifting the receiver out of place I found 2 plastic receiver cases - 1 pink and 1 blue. I think this is a nice touch considering the older versions of the cases were super ugly and made of fake black leather.
Another cool thing Dexcom included in the receiver box was a GREAT instruction manual (instructions for use or IFU). The manual went as far to include a memory drive training tutorial which provides any and all information you could ever want about the Dexcom G6 kit. (pictured below)
The transmitter box was interesting because unlike the G5 there is NOT a warning label that you have to remove to get to the sensor. It's literally just a sensor fit into a little plastic container.
This brought up an important question for me. Will this transmitter fail with time? Will it run out of battery? How long will it last?
To answer the question, I actually called Dexcom tech support. The Dexcom G6 transmitter will last 3 months. This is exactly the same amount of time the Dexcom G5 was designed to last.
Dexcom G6 Unboxing Video
Dexcom G6 Setup
This setup guide is designed for those using a smartphone and not the receiver. The receiver setup is indeed VERY similar, but just so you know; I'm using the iPhone 7s for this setup.
The first thing you're going to do is download the NEW Dexcom G6 application. The new application looks similar to G6 but without any orange in the center of their logo. It's a simple green arrow. See below.
From here, just open the app. In the first screen that pops up you'll be asked for your username and password. Insert yours here.
The next step in the application is AWESOME! The Dexcom G6 app actually asks you if you want to transfer all of your settings and alerts (including your "scheduled" alerts). For me this was a huge little feature. Setting up the alerts can take awhile. And, having previously honed mine in, I was thrilled I didn't have to do it again! Thank you, Dexcom!
The next step is confirming whether or not you want to get alerts from the application. I highly recommend that you leave the alerts on. At the end of the day, this is the whole point of the CGM in the first place!
It also asks you if you want to get alerts from their new feature called "Urgent Low Soon Alert". This alert starts when your glucose level is falling fast, and will be 55 mg/dl in less than 20 minutes. The feature is similar to Medtronic's "predictive low alert" setting, but without the connectivity to your insulin dosage.
In reality, I find this feature a bit annoying, because you end up getting alerted twice for the same thing if you can't react fast enough. But, the concept is brilliant, and serves as a great way to stay out of trouble when you're in critical work situations, or even for sports!
(See below for screenshots of this important setup step.)
From here, the next thing that you'll do is grab a sensor from the sensor box and identify the 4 digit code for the application. The application will require you to put the 4 digit code before it will begin the 2 hour setup. (You'll see there is in option for "No Code". Don't touch that. That's only for non-regulated countries where Dexcom cannot force the 10 day usage policy.)
In this case, you'll simply enter "7171" into the application. Now the application is essentially connected to this particular sensor (for the purpose of tracking the 10 day usage). Sad, I know.
Dexcom G6 Insertion
Now, it's insertion time! This part is surprisingly easy when compared to Dexcom G5.
Like I mentioned above, the first part of the process is simply grabbing a sensor and identifying the 4 digit code. Once you have input the code in the application, you're ready to begin the physical process of inserting your sensor.
At this point, it's time to prep the site. I prefer to use a SkinTac sticky pad to wipe my site. I find that with StinTac I could have a sensor on indefinitely.
Next, you can remove the sensor adhesives. Now press the applicator on to your preferred site. At this point you can fold and break off the little orange safety guard. This comes off really easily by just bending it once.
Now's the moment of truth. Unlike the G5 process of pushing the giant plunger into your site, the Dexcom G6 is applied with the touch of a button...literally. All you have to do is touch the orange button and "bam", your sensor is in. Except, it's not a loud "bam" at all. It's actually a very soft "ping" that you can BARELY feel. I mean it...the insertion of the Dexcom G6 was as painless as can be!
The only down side to the Dexcom G6 that I can see right now is that at the end of the insertion process you're left with the large plastic applicator. This cannot, at the moment, be recycled - though I wish it could be. It's big!
Well, that's it for the unboxing and sensor insertion of the Dexcom G6. If you guys have any questions or comments, please leave them below.
And, before I forget, below is a nice video I made to summarize everything discussed here. Enjoy!
More to come on the results of the G6 and the recent switch I made to using Fiasp insulin.