This document provides information on the management of non-electronic infusion devices (elastomeric infusors). These devices are used to administer protracted infusions of medications via central venous access devices. Only health care professionals who have who have attained competency as per institutional guidelines in non-electronic infusion device management and related competencies e.g. safe administration handling and waste management of cytotoxics and central venous access device care should perform these procedures.
This document should be read in conjunction with:
Clinical safety note
There are physical and operational differences between different brands of elastomeric infusors. Always refer to the operator's manual for a complete list of all warnings and precautions associated with these devices. Flow rates of these devices can be affected by variables such as heat, cold, presence of fever and hypertension. See ISMP safety alert
regarding an incident involving the rapid infusion of high dose fluorouracil.
An elastomeric infusor is a lightweight, single use, disposable device which is used to administer intravenous drugs continuously e.g. antibiotics, analgesia or cytotoxics. The infusor consists of a rigid transparent round or cylindrical container which encapsulates a balloon reservoir that is capable of being inflated to a predetermined volume and the drug delivered over a set period of time.
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Clinical safety notes
Each device has a flow restrictor which regulates the flow of the drug. The flow restrictor is activated by body heat and should be in contact with the patient's skin as per manufacturer's instructions. The casing of the infusor has a measurement scale which allows for the monitoring of the balloon reservoir. The balloon takes approximately 4 hours to start decreasing in size and should be checked regularly (e.g. every 8 hours).
Flow rates can be affected by:
- exposure to high temperatures including direct sunlight (causing rate to increase)
- exposure to cold temperatures (causing rate to decrease)
- viscosity of fluid (5% dextrose is the recommended diluent)
- gauge, length, diameter, and location of the central venous catheter used
- incorrect positioning and fixing of the flow rate sensor to the patient's skin
- the balloon reservoir being positioned above or below the luer lock connector height.