Sometimes a sensor can malfunction, or the area surrounding it can be infected, leading to wrong glucose measurements. Even just the fact to rely on a single sensor seems to psychologically limit the adoption of such devices, both by physician and patients.

Naively, using multiple sensors located at different places looks like a reasonable solution.

Why do most (all ?) insulin pumps use a single glucose sensor ? What are the reasons not to use multiple sensors ? Anticipating on the "sensors are expensive" answer -> They are mostly because of R&D costs. So once developed, using several ones should not be a lot more expensive than using one.

1 Answer 1


There have been few studies (on animals and humans) with multiple CGM sensors showing a more accurate estimation of the BG. [1][2]

The site of application of the sensor, the discordance between multiple data sources and errors in the calibration of the sensors, are open challenges to be precisely addressed before having a system of this kind. Moreover, unless we're strictly speaking of subcutaneous sensors, from a patient perspective there is considerable trouble in maintaining multiple sensors. (e.g. in terms of site changes, application in relevant areas, etc..)

Current sensors achieve a precision around 9% MARD, while the benefit of a system with multiple sensors would be a slight improvement on this number, due to the intrinsic limitations of the CGM, upfront a significant more expensive system and more complexity for the patient. (e.g. delay in the estimation, the noise of the measurement,..)

[1] https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/6615958

[2] https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/152091503322640980

  • 1
    Thanks! IMHO multiple sensors are not useful to improve the 'most of the time' accuracy, but instead they can be used to avoid large and unlikely mistakes. "The discordance between multiple data sources" is a feature, not a bug. If you have 4 sensors and one of reads different, you know for sure one (or three) of them are wrong. When you have only one, you have no idea until you reach hypo / hyperglycemia.
    – agemO
    Mar 11, 2020 at 13:18

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