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Over the years, elastomeric pumps have proven to be an easy to use, cost-effective, and lightweight solution to deliver IV medication to patients. These pumps do not have batteries, do not need programming, and due to their portability and size, are generally perceived to be less intrusive for patients.  

However, because these pumps rely on using the pressure created from filling up the pump’s elastic reservoir, they are unable to provide a stable flow rate and typically operate with significantly lower accuracy when compared to other types of pumps. Elastomeric pumps typically offer +/- 15% accuracy compared to +/- 5% in electronic smart pumps, for example. 

The ability to accurately deliver medication at a steady flow rate becomes even more critical when dealing with specialized treatments, such as anti-cancer therapies.

In a recently published review of relevant literature, researchers from Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China found that the optimal infusion rate for anti-cancer agents (e.g., methotrexate, fluorouracil, and arsenic trioxide) varied depending on the specific therapy being delivered. 

During their review, they found that certain therapies, such as platinum compounds and carmustine, saw an increase in patient safety when using a slower infusion rate. In contrast, patients infused with drugs like gemcitabine benefited from a faster infusion rate. Further, the optimal infusion rate for some drugs was based on the balance between multiple risks of toxicity. 

This poses a unique challenge to healthcare providers who must determine and maintain an optimal infusion rate over the entire treatment, and may make specific types of pumps, such as elastomeric pumps, less ideal for use in these types of infusions. The full article can be found at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10676648/ 

This consideration was backed up by The National Home Infusion Association’s (NHIA) newly released Practice Standards for Pump Selection for Home Infusion of Medication. In these standards, NHIA suggests that when giving continuously infused medications requiring a strictly controlled infusion rate (such as the anti-cancer therapies highlighted above), it is strongly recommended to use an electronic smart pump. You can view the new practice standards at https://nhia.org/learn/practice-standards/pump-selection-practice-standard/  

As the industry leader in home infusion technology, the CURLIN 6000 by Moog provides patients the freedom and flexibility of receiving their infusions at home. Its unique design ensures that the medication is delivered precisely as prescribed and offers accurate medication delivery at a wide variety of infusion rates. Learn more about CURLIN’s unique design and how it can impact patient care.

Ryan O'Reilly

Ryan O'Reilly is the Product Marketing Manager for Moog's IV Infusion business. Ryan received his BS in Strategic Communications from the University of Utah in 2014 and his MBA from Westminster College in 2021. Ryan has worked in various industries including med device, healthcare, and software. Outside of work, Ryan enjoys reading and cheering on the Utah Jazz.