Insulin pumps or continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) device may be damaged when diabetics wearing them go through a full-body scan at an airport, caution experts.
The risk to these sensitive devices posed by scanners and the low-pressure conditions on airplanes were the focus of a report published in the journal Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics.
Authors Andrew Cornish and H. Peter Chase of 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, according to a Colorado statement.
People with diabetes can present a travel letter obtained from their physicians to avoid possible damage caused by exposure to imaging equipment in airports, suggest researchers.
"Given the increased use of insulin pump therapy, not only in the US, but around the world, it seems critical that more research is funded to better understand and potentially repair this problem," says Irl Hirsch, professor of medicine at the University of Washington Medical Center-Roosevelt, Seattle.
Hirsch is also the editor of Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics, a monthly journal that covers new technology and products for treatment, monitoring, diagnosis and prevention of diabetes.