Today we will be discussing the types of infusion pumps available and what each type is used for. But first…. What is an infusion pump?
What is an Infusion Pump? Why do I need one?
An infusion pump is an electrical device that is used to get medication, nutrients and other fluids into your body in a controlled amount (FDA). These are needed to eliminate or lessen the difficulty and sometimes impossibility of administering substances to yourself or to a patient manually. Many types of infusion pumps have been developed since the 1960’s to lessen the occurrence of human error when administering different infusions.
Some people require special types on infusion pumps. This may be based on the duration of administration of the medication or the dosage.
Some people need very minute or very large amounts of medication administered to them continuously throughout the day or at scheduled intervals.
Infusion pumps offer the advantage of being able to deliver very small or very large amounts of medications at programmed time intervals. Another wonderful advantage is that infusion pumps can be programmed to work with natural changes in the body such as the circadian rhythm. It can also work against pathological changes such as insulin resistance.
This is a new infusion pump technology that is safer to use in the hospital and at home. This invention has saved many lives with it’s Dose Error Reduction Software (DERS) and EPROM. EPROM is a chip placed in the infusion pump which can be programmed with any hospital drug database. This database contains important information such as safety limits of drugs and the dosages to be administered.
Smart pumps are programmed to alert the user of dangerous complications or errors associated with infusion pump usage. For example, a person using a smart pump will be alerted when there are blockages in the tubes, air bubbles, when there will be adverse drug reactions and when the medication dosage is being administered incorrectly by the standards of the hospital drug database.
This is a brilliant improvement from old-fashioned roller-clamp and drip-chamber systems.
Types of Drugs Administered by Infusion Pumps at Home
Who Needs infusion Pumps?
Some of the types of drugs infused include medications for people with:
- Cancer and cancer-related pain conditions
- Crohn’s disease
- Congestive heart failure
- Immune deficiencies
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Bacterial infections or sepsis
- Hepatitis C virus infection
- Multiple sclerosis
- Chronic inflammatory disease
- Dehydration and malnutrition
The most popular infusion therapies are intravenous antibiotics.
Types of Infusion Mechanisms Carried Out by Infusion Pumps
These infusion pumps deliver a set volume of medication for a specific duration of time at different intervals throughout the day (as prescribed by a doctor).
In continuous infusion, medication is administered throughout the entire day in small pulses of infusion at programmed infusion speeds.
Patient controlled infusion
Patient controlled infusion allows the patient to have some degree of control over how much and when medication is administered. This is mostly used in analgesia (Patient Controlled Analgesia, PCA) for long term or chronic pain. The patients do not have full control over the amount of medication administered as there is a programmed upper limit to avoid the infusion of harmful doses.
Total parenteral nutrition infusion
This delivers a nutrient or set of nutrients needed by the patient, bypassing the alimentary canal by using an intravenous access.
Types of Infusion Pumps
Infusion pumps are very diverse. They can be categorized into different types based on different factors, but there are three main things that experts take into considerations when placing them into groups. These include:
- Mobility of the infusion pump
- The volume of fluids delivered from the pump
- The function of the infusion pump
Types of Infusion Pumps Based on Mobility
Stationary Infusion pumps
Stationary infusion pumps are used in patients who have chronic or complex diseases, that leave them bedridden and in need of frequent bedside IV medication or nutrition.
Ambulatory Infusion Pumps
Ambulatory (mobile) infusion pumps have become increasingly important with the advent of new medications for chronic, debilitating diseases. Some people require medication throughout the day to function normally but still want to do their normal day to day activities. A mobile infusion pump solves this problem by delivering medication on the go.
Types of Infusion Pumps based on The Volume of Fluid Delivered
There are two basic types of infusion pumps when you consider the volume of fluids being delivered:
Large volume infusion pumps (LVPs)
These infuse large volumes of substances, mostly nourishment, into a patient. They usually use peristaltic computerized pumps. Usually, there is a computer controlled roller or a set of fingers sequentially pressing a rubber tube through which the medication flows. This permits different rates of flow of the medication depending on the patient’s need.
Small volume infusion pumps (SVPs) / Syringe Pumps
Small volume pumps stay true to the name. They deliver smaller medication substances such as hormones by a controlled motor mechanism that uses a plunger-like pumping effect. This pushes the medication through a syringe and into the tube (syringe infusion pumps) to the patient.
Types of Infusion Pumps Based on Their Functions
There are two basic types of medical infusion pump categories when considering how they are used: traditional pumps and specialty pumps. These can then be further subdivided into other categories based on when, how and why they are used.
Traditional Infusion Pumps
Traditional medical infusion pumps are used in hospitals, doctor’s offices, settings for long term care and also in home and mobile settings. These pumps are used for administering fluids for hydration, pain medication, chemotherapy medications, antibiotics and others. Traditional infusion pumps can further be divided into three types of products.
- Large volume infusion Pumps
- Ambulatory infusion pumps (Chemotherapy Pumps and Disposable Pumps – such as elastomeric pumps)
- Syringe infusion Pumps
Specialty Infusion Pumps
These infusion pumps are mostly used in home care settings as they were designed to meet the needs of special cases.
The three types of infusion pumps under the specialty medical infusion pump category include:
- Insulin Infusion Pumps
- Enteral Feeding Pumps
- Implantable Infusion Pumps
I hope this information was helpful to you. Please comment below with any additional questions about the types of infusion pumps available. Also, let me know if you or anyone you know have any experience with any of the infusion pumps mentioned here.