Can diabetes devices be damaged by airport security scanners?

October 24, 2012

Full-body or X-ray scanners used for airport security screening may affect the function of insulin pump or continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) devices. People with diabetes can present a travel letter obtained from their physicians to avoid possible damage caused by exposure to imaging equipment in airports.

The risk to these sensitive devices posed by scanners and the low-pressure conditions on airplanes are the focus of the Editorial "Navigating Airport Security with an and/or Sensor," published in Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers.

Andrew Cornish and H. Peter Chase, MD, University of Colorado, Denver, caution that the motor of an insulin delivery pump or device may experience electromagnetic malfunctioning when passed through an scanner. However, little research has been published on the potential impact of that exposure.

"Given the increased use of insulin pump therapy, not only in the U.S., but around the world, with hundreds of thousands of people using this technology, it seems critical that more research is funded to better understand and potentially repair this problem," says Irl Hirsch, MD, Senior Editor of Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics and Professor of Medicine, University of Washington Medical Center-Roosevelt, Seattle, WA.

Explore further: More questions than answers remain concerning effects of airplane travel on insulin pump delivery

More information: The Editorial is available free on the Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics website at www.liebertpub.com/dia .

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