Diabetes devices can be damaged by airport scanners: new study

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.

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.

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