LEAVING ON A
Insulin pumps and international travel
ue to the way pumps
there is potentially
malfunctioning risk – i.e.
if you pass through an airport security
scanner there’s a chance it will affect the
functioning of your pump. There is not
evidence either way on this. You’ll only
know if it starts going squiffy on you.
Then there’s the possible effects of
hypobaric pressure conditions on insulin
delivery – does cabin pressure affect the
accuracy of insulin delivery from pumps?
Again, there seems to be an insufficient
body of proof to sway things either way
but if it does, then it seems that cabin
pressure would mean a slightly increased
delivery of insulin. If you’ve done air travel
and not come a cropper, than chances are
you have not been significantly affected.
Short trips will have little or no impact, but
you might want to watch out on longer travel (including food intake, stress, and Steps to take:
ones – and by ‘watch out’, it just means exercise), along with the potential for 1. Carry a doctors note with you about
“keep testing”. changes in insulin delivery technological difficulties, more frequent being on a pump and treated by insulin.
may be more critical for younger children self-monitoring of blood glucose levels Ask for a ‘pat down’ rather than to put
who maybe more sensitive to insulin. remains highly recommended.” you and your equipment through the body
And they conclude, It is probable scanner.
Airport Security that on any given day, large numbers of 2. Unhook your pump and walk through
In their report, Navigating Airport travelers subject their insulin pumps and/ the body scanners leaving your pump to
Security with an Insulin Pump and/ or CGM devices to X-ray and full-body go through the X-ray machine (X-ray not
or Sensor, doctors Andrew Cornish, machines, and some may unknowingly being damaging, whereas the electro-
B.A., and H. Peter Chase, M.D. (as experience mild (or worse) malfunctioning magnetic body scanners might be).
published in Diabetes Technologies and as a result. More research is needed to 3. Blood test often.
Therapeutics) noted, “New technologies better evaluate the frequency of problems
are constantly being developed for and the type of problems most likely (e.g., Other than that, enjoy your flight and have
diabetes management. With all of the increased vs. decreased insulin delivery a great trip!
changes a person makes with airplane from an insulin pump).