Airport security scanners may affect function of insulin pump or CGM devices

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 Insulin Pump and/or Sensor," published in Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The Editorial is available free on the Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics website at

Andrew Cornish and H. Peter Chase, MD, University of Colorado, Denver, caution that the motor of an insulin delivery pump or glucose monitoring device may experience electromagnetic malfunctioning when passed through an airport security 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.


  1. Rachel Humphrey Rachel Humphrey United Kingdom says:

    There is no standard policy or procedure for insulin pumps at airport security and this not only causes stress for the person with diabetes but can also quickly become a life-threatening emergency.

    I want all airport authorities to recognise the risks of insulin pumps and x-rays and to train their staff accordingly.

    Here is my recent personal experience in an open letter to Dubai International Airport:

    It is great to see Dubai Airport taking necessary steps to improve their procedures as a direct result from our campaign:

    Here is my petition:

    We have the support of JDRF and many other high profile organisations:

    I hope you can sign and share the petition to help spread awareness.

    Rachel Humphrey

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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