A Thirty-Year Journey with Medtronic


A Thirty-Year Journey with Medtronic

Medtronic MiniMed Ambassador, Cindy Tenney, stands out as a fascinating example of how to live an exceptional life with type 1 diabetes. She was diagnosed at the age of 13 and has lived a full life with diabetes. When it comes to diabetes technology, she’s seen it all as she wore the MiniMed 502, the company’s very first insulin pump. Cindy works as an Administrator of Health Services for a Southern California school district and prior to its commercial availability she was able to take part in a clinical trial of the MiniMed 530G system with SmartGuard—the only insulin pump that takes action against lows.* Here’s her story!

I was diagnosed with insulin-dependent diabetes at the age of 13, in 1976. Five years later, my endocrinologist convinced me to try wearing a “pump”. As a high school senior I was sporting the infamous big, “blue brick” on a daily basis. This basic machine had one infusion rate, which meant I had to dilute my insulin into different concentrations in order to create “basal rates!” In addition, the pump required its internal, rechargeable battery to be plugged into the wall every night while I lay sleeping next to it. The first infusion sets were straight NEEDLES, and taping those down did pinch! It was an open-faced machine with a large syringe, dials, knobs and a flashing red light openly exposed.

Several years later, I wore Medtronic’s first insulin pump (which was a lot smaller than the brick!) and have been extremely fortunate to move along through the steps of insulin pump medical technology with Medtronic. Insulin pumps are now computerized, capable of multiple basal rates throughout the day, and small enough to wear in your pocket or under your clothes. Infusion sets are merely a teeny tiny catheter left in place for three days, and with the advent of the CGM, insulin pumps are able to display your real-time glucose readings.

I have had a successful and rewarding career as a registered nurse; working night shifts, 12-hour shifts. Now that my children are grown and with my background in cutting edge medical advances, I began to participate in clinical trials associated with Medtronic products. My endocrinologist encouraged me to look on the internet, that’s how I found the clinical trial for the MiniMed 530G system with SmartGuard.

When I started this trial, my biggest fear was that I wouldn’t be able to keep all the minute details straight. There were so many do’s and don’ts to remember to make the data reliable. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to wear the latest technology available. The Enlite sensor really impressed me with the smaller internal probe, more comfortable to wear, and much easier to insert. Not only does the Enlite sensor last 6 days, but the sensor glucose readings are noticeably more accurate. I was pleasantly surprised to discover Enlite to be such a fabulous improvement over the Sof-sensors. 

Wearing the MiniMed 530G system during the trial provided me reassurance to sleep through the night, because it’s proven to reduce nighttime lows.* Like many people with diabetes, I feel most vulnerable while asleep. During my trial, I slept through the low sensor-glucose alarms and the pump went into SUSPEND MODE for two hours. My blood sugars did not continue to fall. I was completely amazed at how well SmartGuard technology worked to take action against lows.* In addition, I utilize the temporary basal rate option whenever I head to the gym or bicycling to help prevent hypoglycemia.

All the clinical trials I have participated in have brought excitement about advances and future treatment for people with diabetes. I encourage others to check out these opportunities to learn and grow.

Editor’s note: To learn more about enrolling in clinical trials, visit www.clinicaltrials.gov.

Click here to see if you qualify for a free trial of the MiniMed 530G system with SmartGuard.

*Bergenstal RM, et al. N Engl J Med 2013;369:224-232.


MiniMed 530G with Enlite is intended for the delivery of insulin and continuous glucose monitoring for the management of diabetes mellitus by persons 16 years of age or older who require insulin. Insulin infusion pumps and associated components of insulin infusion systems are limited to sale by or on the order of a physician and should only be used under the direction of a healthcare professional familiar with the risks of insulin pump therapy. 

Pump therapy is not recommended for people who are unwilling or unable to perform a minimum of four blood glucose tests per day. Pump therapy is not recommended for people who are unwilling or unable to maintain contact with their healthcare professional. Pump therapy is not recommended for people whose vision or hearing does not allow recognition of pump signals and alarms.  

Insulin pumps use rapid-acting insulin. If your insulin delivery is interrupted for any reason, you must be prepared to replace the missed insulin immediately. Replace the infusion set every 48-72 hours, or more frequently per your healthcare professional’s instructions. Insertion of a glucose sensor may cause bleeding or irritation at the insertion site. Consult a physician immediately if you experience significant pain or if you suspect that the site is infected.

The information provided by CGM systems is intended to supplement, not replace, blood glucose information obtained using a home glucose meter. A confirmatory fingerstick is required prior to making adjustments to diabetes therapy. MiniMed 530G with Enlite is not intended to be used directly for preventing or treating hypoglycemia but to suspend insulin delivery when the user is unable to respond to the Threshold Suspend alarm and take measures to prevent or treat hypoglycemia themselves. Therapy to prevent or treat hypoglycemia should be administered according to the recommendations of the user’s Health Care Provider.

WARNING: The Threshold Suspend feature will cause the pump to temporarily suspend insulin delivery for two hours when the sensor glucose reaches a set threshold. Under some conditions of use the pump can suspend again resulting in very limited insulin delivery. Prolonged suspension can increase the risk of serious hyperglycemia, ketosis, and ketoacidosis. Before using the Threshold Suspend feature, it is important to read the Threshold Suspend information in the MiniMed 530G System User Guide and discuss proper use of the Threshold Suspend feature with your healthcare provider.