September 19, 2018 Internal Medicine

Medical Machines: Infusion Pumps

Puppy hooked up to fluid pumps

Medical Machines: Infusion Pumps

“Medical Machines” is a new series of blog posts highlighting the equipment AMC veterinarians use to provide state-of-the-art care to thousands of pets annually. These machines save lives, but pet families rarely ever have the opportunity to see them up close and personal. This series will give readers a glimpse into the equipment AMC veterinarians rely on every day.
The machine for today is an infusion pump, sometimes called a fluid pump.

Not Just for Fluid

Infusion pumps, fluid pumps, and IV pumps are commonly used terms to describe a device which delivers a precise volume of liquid over an exact period of time. The pump can be used to administer a wide variety of liquids including intravenous fluids, antibiotics, or pain medications. Pumps are also used to deliver liquid feeding solutions into the stomach or intestine and for blood transfusions. Pumps free the nursing staff from monitoring fluid delivery rates for more important duties. If the infusion rate varies from the setting, the pump beeps to alert the nursing staff of a problem.

How They Work

AMC has two types of pumps: peristaltic and syringe pumps. In the peristaltic pump, the tubing for the fluid fits between rollers which compress the tubing as they roll. This rolling action forces the liquid through the tubing. Peristaltic pumps are commonly used for IV fluids. AMC also uses syringe pumps. A syringe loaded with medication is placed in a slot on the pump and a motorized screw turns to push the syringe plunger at a controlled rate to deliver the fluid. Syringe pumps are commonly used for very small patients or for very small volume infusions. Above, you can see a puppy receiving a blood transfusion via syringe pump.

A Machine of Major Importance

Infusion pumps don’t really impress like a CT scanner or linear accelerator.
But what pumps lack in size, they compensate for in sheer numbers. Our best estimate is that AMC has over 200 peristaltic pumps and at least 50 syringe pumps. Our ICU has enough peristaltic pumps for each patient to have two at all times, plus some extras. Our animal ER has about 10 peristaltic pumps which they use to deliver fluids at a very high rate in patients with shock.
In researching infusion pumps for this blog post, one of our senior nurses who remembers a time before infusion pumps remarked, “Infusion pumps revolutionized patient care at AMC. We no longer had to stand by each patient’s IV line counting the number of drips per minute; we simply set the pump to the correct rate and were then free to take care of the patients, not the fluid infusion.”
Infusion pumps are one of AMC’s most valuable medical machines.

Tags: amcny, animal medical center, animals, ann hohenhaus, cats, dogs, fluid pumps, infusion pump, IV, medical machines, NYC, pets, veterinary,

Related Posts

  • Dogs Oncology
    A dog lying in the sun
    September 15, 2021

    Do Dogs Need Sunscreen? Protecting Your Dog from Solar-induced Tumors

    Learn More
  • Misc One Health
    A search and rescue dog and its handler at Ground Zero
    September 07, 2021

    AMC Remembers 9/11 Twenty Years Later

    Learn More
  • Dogs Emergency Pet Safety Responsible Pet Ownership
    An x-ray of an earbud in a dog's stomach
    August 25, 2021

    What happens when your dog eats your earbuds?

    Learn More