Button Error—What You Must Know about Flying with a MiniMed 600 Series


Editor’s Note: On July 9, 2019, the FDA issued a “class 2 recall” for the MiniMed 670G, 640G, 630G and 620G models. A class 2 recall is a medium-severity “situation in which use of or exposure to a violative product may cause temporary or medically reversible adverse health consequences or where the probability of serious adverse health consequences is remote.” The FDA uses the term “recall” to include situations where no product need be returned, and currently the FDA and Medtronic are not requesting any devices be returned to the manufacturer.

For those of us who use technology for our diabetes management, having a Plan B in case our devices have a failure is absolutely necessary. These minor device malfunctions can happen any time and the cause is not always a design malfunction but that technology and devices are just not fail-proof. These malfunctions can happen at any time.

But what if one of these failures surprises you while your tens of thousands feet in the air? Let me tell you a story.

Imagine flying from Mexico City to San Francisco in order to meet the Beyond Type 1 staff in the home office. No need to add, I do not love plane traveling so I decided to take out my computer and work, of course.

Suddenly, my insulin pump Minimed 640 G had an alert displayed:

“Stuck Button”

“Button Pressed for More than 3 minutes”

In a scenario when you are traveling short distances you won’t suffer any harm except for some stress, but imagine flying to another country or in a more than 12 hour flight without knowing for sure if this error will be resolved.

Medtronic released this statement about the error:

“This notification is to inform you of a rare and temporary condition in which the keypad buttons on your MiniMed 600 series insulin pump may become temporarily stuck, and the keypad becomes unresponsive. This is a field safety notification and you do not need to return or replace your pump.”

Things to be considered:

  1. Some insulin pumps have been reported to have this alert displayed during flights due to cabin pressure changes. This was not a problem in previous models but in newer versions with bigger buttons, it has happened and has been reported.
  2. The good news is that it is a temporary alert and the button will work as soon as cabin pressure changes again.
  3. Now, if you’re in need of an extra bolus because of a high blood glucose (BG) you will need to use Plan B. Those of us who use technology for diabetes management must always have this in mind. Remember to have a Plan B includes, among other items, syringes and insulin.
  4. You might need to change your pump’s batteries once working, so please remember to have some spare batteries with you at all times.

Next time you travel, keep this in mind, so spotty wifi is the only thing to stress about while in air!

Read more on insulin pumps!

WRITTEN BY Mariana Gomez, POSTED 04/26/18, UPDATED 08/04/23

Mariana was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in the summer of 1985. She is a diabetes educator and a licensed psychologist specialized in narrative. On 2008, Mariana started a blog where she shares her experiences and diabetes knowledge with others and she began being an active advocate through social media. She is considered a a diabetes influencer in Latin America and has participated in several conferences, events and TV shows dedicated to diabetes education in the last years. Mariana worked for the Mexican Diabetes Federation as communications manager helping to build and empower the diabetes community in Mexico. She is nowadays community manager for EsTuDiabetes.org She is a proud mother of a 10 year old football player.