All You Need to Know About Infusion Pumps

Infusion pumps have been a staple in medicine for quite some time. It’s common to see one of these pumps in clinical settings such as nursing homes, hospitals, and even homes. The pumps medical application is to deliver fluids, nutrients, and medications, to a patient’s body in controlled amounts either large or small.

These medical devices are favored more over manual administration because of their ability to deliver medication in quite small volumes as well as in automated intervals. There are many types of infusion pumps such as syringe, insulin and enteral pumps to name a few.

The types of pump differ based on the purpose they are used for and on how they are powered. Some of these devices are made to be used at the patient’s bedside while others are made to be portable or wearable.

What is an infusion pump?

As said earlier, infusion pumps deliver fluids such as medication and nutrients into the patient’s body into controlled amounts. It can deliver the fluid in small or large amounts depending on the patient’s needs. Infusion pumps can be used in different ways. It can be used:

Intravenously

In this method, the infusion pump is used to help deliver the fluids directly into the vein. Intravenous Therapy (IV) can be used for fluid replacement, medication delivery, and blood transfusions. This is what the pumps are mostly used for.

Subcutaneous

Here the infusion pump is used to help deliver fluids to the subcutis region. The subcutis is the layer of skin between the dermis and epidermis.  Subcutaneous administration is useful for vaccines as well as insulin medication.

Arterial

In this method, the infusion pumps administer the fluids to the arteries, the blood vessels that take blood from the heart to the rest of the body.

Epidural

This is another route of administration in which the drug is injected into the epidural space of the spinal cord. Infusion pumps are used in this capacity as they can provide quite small amounts that would be difficult to administer manually.

Infusion pumps have become commonplace in clinical settings as they help administer fluids that would be practically expensive to perform or unreliable if done manually. These pumps make it easier/lessen the difficulty fo administering substances to yourself or a patient. On top of that, the infusion pumps have helped in reducing the occurrence of a human error when administering infusions.  There are different types of infusion pumps used for different purposes. 

Smart Pumps

Before we get into the types of infusion pumps, we have to talk about Smart Pumps. This is a new technology in infusion pumps that can be considered lifesaving. It uses two systems DERS and EPROM. DERS stands for Dose Error Reduction Software.

EPROM is a chip in infusion pumps that are/can be programmed with any hospital’s database. This allows the device to get access to crucial information such as drug safety limits and the amount of dosage to be administered.

Smart pumps are also able to notify users of complications that arise from the use of the pump such as tube blockages as well as air bubbles in the infusions.  

Types of Infusion Pumps

There are many different types of infusion pumps. Many experts tend to categorize these medical devices based on certain factors. These factors are:

  • Mobility
  • Volume of fluids delivered and
  • Function

Types Based on Mobility

Stationary Infusion Pumps

These types of pumps are made to sit at the bedside of patients. Many of the patients that use them tend to have complex or chronic diseases.  Stationery pumps are used or patients that are bedridden and require frequent bedside medication or nutrition provision.

Ambulatory Infusion Pumps

This one is the opposite of the stationery infusion pumps. These pumps are mobile and can be used in homes. They are crucial in the modern world as new treatments for debilitating diseases have been discovered. This has allowed people the ability to function normally despite their diseases. Ambulatory Infusion pumps give people with chronic diseases the ability to receive medication throughout the day while doing their day to day activities.

Types Based on Volume of Fluid Delivered

Large Volume Infusion Pumps

The name here is self-explanatory. It’s used to infuse a large volume of fluids into a patient’s body. This type of pump is normally used to provide nourishment to the patient. These pumps will use a computer-controlled roller or a manual method to press a rubber tube sequentially. It’s this action that allows the medication to flow at different rates depending on the need of the patient.

Small Volume Infusion Pumps (SVPs)/Syringe Pumps

These pumps deliver small amounts of medication to the body. A controlled motor mechanism pushes medication through a syringe into a tube which is delivered to the patient. Hormonal infusions are just one of many that require the use of SVPs as small amounts need to be delivered at intervals.

Types Based on Functions

Traditional Infusion Pumps

These types of pumps can be used in different kinds of settings such as in hospitals, doctor’s offices and even at home. It’s a broader category for many different kinds of pumps. These medical devices can be used to administer many different kinds of medications such as pain medication, antibiotics and more. Some of the infusion pumps that fall into this category are such as large volume infusion pumps and syringe pumps.

Specialty Infusion Pumps

Unlike traditional pumps, these are made to be used in home settings. They were designed to cater to the needs of individuals with special cases. Many of the pumps that fall into this category tend to be mobile. Some of the pumps that fall into this category are such as insulininfusion pumps and enteral feeding pumps.

Infusion Pump Comparisons

Product Name

Description

Special features

Delivery Rate Range

Battery Life

Power Requirements

Special Features

Abbott Lifecare 5000 Infusion Pump

This volumetric infusion system is designed for use in a hospital setting and requires a qualified bio technician in order to setup. The device can be used to administer a variety of medical fluids of different viscosity levels at different delivery rates.

Occlusion Alarm

This alarm uses sensors to know whether there are certain blockages within the tubing. There is also an Air-in- Alarm that will ring when a bubble 100uL or larger is detected by the sensors.

Micro mode:0.1 to 99.0 mL/hr (in o.1 mL increments)

Macro mode: 1 to 999 mL/hr (in 1 mL increments)

6 hours of operation or 500 mL total volume delivered

AC: 110-120 V

Occlusion Alarm

Air-in-Aalarm

Proximal Alarm

Auto Syringe AS50 Infusion Pump

This digital syringe pump has a backlight display to make it easy to view the screen while using it. It can be used for different kind of routes of administration such as intravenous and epidural. The battery voltage indicator allows you to know the battery level of the device while the “Near end” alert lets you know when the intravenous solution is about to end. The alert is adjustable based on the patient’s needs.

Adjustable “Near End” Alert

The alert let’s you know when the intravenous solution is close to being depleted. What makes this special is that you can decide when this alert should ring depending on the needs of the patient.

Can be used for different routes of administration

This digital syringe can be used to administer intravenous solutions, drug solutions and much more via epidural, subcutaneous or intravenous methods of administration

 0.01 mL/hr to 438 mL/hr. The flow rate depends on the syringe

5 hours of operation at 100mL/hr. 12 hours of operation at 2 mL/hr

AC: 105-125 V

Syringe Plunger detection, adjustable occlusion specialty, Adjustable “Near End” alert

Baxter AS40 Auto Syringe Infusion Pump

This syringe pumps uses standard disposable syringes from 1mL to 60mL in size. The pump can be used for intermittent or continuous infusion of IV solutions. There is a status display on the device that shows information about the infusion.

Safety measures have been reinforced on the device. Measures such as a re programmable bolus operation and a serial communication feature. This feature is optional. It provides remote computer control and monitoring capabilities.

0.01 to 438bmL/hr

About 5 hours of operation

AC: 105-125V

remote computer control and monitoring capabilities and reprogrammable bolus operation


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