Med One Blog

These IVs Are Made For Walking: All About Ambulatory Infusion Pumps

Ambulatory Infusion Pump

Since the 1960s, infusion pumps have gained widespread use in hospitals and healthcare facilities. They're an excellent way to administer fluids and medications quickly and accurately, which makes them popular in both emergency situations and for chronic conditions. But while you may be quite familiar with the sight of IV pumps that remain stationary in hospital rooms, you might not know quite as much about the other different types of IV pumps -- for example, ambulatory infusion pumps.

From the name alone, you might assume that these infusion pumps are used in emergency transport vehicles. But actually, the word "ambulatory" refers to the concept of being able to walk around without being bedridden. While some different types of IV pumps would require patients to remain in their beds to receive treatment, ambulatory IV pumps allow for mobility. These pumps administer medications and other fluids while allowing patients to walk around unrestricted.

Ambulatory IV pumps can deliver these solutions subcutaneously (under the skin), epidurally (via injection around the spinal cord), or intravenously (through a vein). They are ideal for patients who need repeated or continuous infusions in particular, because they are able to go about their daily routines without having to stay in a hospital setting or in bed. These IV pumps are often used for those with diabetes, cancer, chronic pain, infections, gastrointestinal conditions, and more. They can be used both within the hospital and at home.

Usually, these ambulatory pumps are controlled by a microprocessor that controls the infusion flow and rate while delivering constant force and consistent fluid delivery. The use of infusion pumps is quite simple: after the patient's skin is cleaned and the infusion site is fitted with a catheter, the pump is connected to the port and the pump's reservoir is filled with the solution or medication. Then, the pump is programmed and infusion can begin. While the amount of fluid will never exceed approved levels, these types of pumps are optimal for patient-controlled analgesia because the patient has the ability to manage their pain levels or need for medications.

While ambulatory infusion pumps are not the right choice for every medical situation, they can be immensely helpful for patients with ongoing conditions who want to retain their mobility. These pumps help patients manage their conditions and maintain their independence, thus improving the overall patient experience.