How safety features make or break infusion pump design

March 05, 2019

In this article, Charlotte Harvey, Medical Sector Manager, and Tim Frearson, Senior Consultant, both of Sagentia, overview the safety systems required when designing an infusion pump system, with a focus on free-flow prevention, occlusion detection and air-in-line detection.

Infusion pumps are complex electromechanical devices used to deliver fluids into a patient’s body in a controlled manner. They typically serve the needs of hospital-bound patients, where life-saving medication is normally delivered via intravenous infusion. With the desire for patients to be able to manage their own conditions outside of a hospital setting, together with the trend towards continuous drug delivery, the use of at-home, ambulatory and wearable infusion pumps is on the rise.

New entrants to the world of infusion pumps will find that safety features are a major driving force behind their design, as they control every aspect of a user’s interaction with the device and have the potential to make it unusable when things go wrong. This article reviews different pump types, their typical safety features, and the implementation of three of the most important safety features in infusion pump design.

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