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Understanding the difference between Accuracy, Resolution of Flow, and Continuity of Flow is essential when evaluating competitive infusion pumps.

In the printing industry, resolution is used to describe the amount of detail in a printed image. Print resolution is measured in dots per inch (DPI). The more dots of ink that are printed per inch, the higher the resolution of the image, therefore the higher the quality of image in terms of sharpness and detail.

Increasing dots per inch (resolution) shown left to right

Similarly, resolution can be used in infusion therapy to describe the amount of fluid pushed into the downstream tubing with each turn of the motor. Resolution of Flow can be quantified by determining the number of boluses required to deliver 1 milliliter of fluid – boluses per milliliter delivered, or b/mL.

The more boluses that are delivered per milliliter of fluid delivery, the higher the Resolution of Flow. Higher Resolution of Flow indicates that a pump is delivering fluid in smaller micro-boluses throughout the infusion.

Benchtop testing indicates that the CURLIN Ambulatory Infusion Pump is able to deliver an extremely high Resolution and Continuity of Flow, even at low infusion rates. At an infusion rate of 0.1 mL/hr, the CURLIN pump delivers 50 micro-boluses per hour (500 b/mL) compared to the 2 boluses per hour with competitive infusion pumps (20 b/mL). This translates to 1 micro-bolus every 1.2 minutes with the CURLIN pump, compared to 1 bolus per 30 minutes with competitive pumps. Fewer and smaller gaps between boluses while delivering the same amount of total fluid means the CURLIN pump delivers precise micro-boluses more accurately and more evenly throughout the infusion.

Infusion of smaller micro-boluses is often much more therapeutically effective than infusion of larger boluses administered less often, especially when infusing drugs at very low infusion rates (0.1 – 5mL/hr). This is even more important if these drugs have short half-lives. Evenly and closely spaced fluid delivery reduces the spiking and troughing of medication blood serum levels and provides a more constant therapeutic effect.

Many drugs have relatively short half-lives, and can be classified as critical or high-risk drugs. Most of these drugs infuse at very low infusion rates. Patients that are on these types of therapies are generally high-risk patients due to either their medical condition or the type of therapy that they are receiving. Some examples include inotropes, immunotherapy, chemotherapy, and pain management. In these cases, smaller, more closely spaced doses must be maintained for maximum clinical efficacy. At very low infusion rates, high Resolution of Flow becomes even more critical as it ensures that the time between infused boluses is minimized.

An infographic describing Resolution of Flow in more detail is shown below.

Why Your Choice of Infusion Pump Matters to Patient Outcomes

Understanding How Different Infusion Pump Technologies Impact Flow Accuracy, Resolution, and Continuity

A recently published whitepaper describes how different infusion pump technologies operate, and why Resolution and Continuity of Flow are important factors when choosing an infusion pump. If you are interested in learning more, please click the button below.