Preferred Medical

Ambulatory Infusion Pumps vs. Stationary Pumps

Ambulatory Infusion Pumps vs. Stationary Pumps

Over the last 60 years, infusion pumps have become an essential piece of healthcare equipment that can be found in all hospitals. They're the best possible way for doctors and nurses to safely and accurately administer fluids and medications to patients.

This makes them invaluable in both emergency situations as well as for patients with long term conditions. There are dozens if not hundreds of different infusion pumps, but they can generally be grouped into two main categories:  ambulatory infusion pumps and stationary infusion pumps.

What Is An Ambulatory Infusion Pump?

Ambulatory infusion pumps are smaller and lightweight enough for patients to use them on the go. Many IV infusion pumps require patients to stay in their beds to receive medical treatment, but ambulatory IV pumps allow the patient to have mobility. These pumps can be clipped to clothing or carried in an ambulatory pump pouch while they administer medications and other fluids and the patients go about their daily lives untethered and unrestricted.

Ambulatory IV pumps are able to administer these life-saving solutions in a number of ways:

1. Intravenously or through the patient’s vein

2. Subcutaneously or under the skin

3. Epidurally or via injection near the spinal cord

Ambulatory infusion pumps are best for patients who require routine or continuous infusions. The pump allows the patient to go about their daily lives without the need to stay in a hospital or being bedridden.

Usually, these IV pumps are used to treat patients with chronic pain, infections, gastrointestinal conditions, diabetes, cancer, and other chronic conditions. They are used both within the hospital and at home for patients with in-home care.

When Should You Use An Ambulatory Pump?

Although portable ambulatory infusion pumps are not the best option in every medical situation, they are incredibly helpful to patients dealing with long time conditions but who want to retain their independence and freedom of mobility. Ambulatory pumps can help people manage their conditions and maintain better mental health, thus providing a massive boost to the overall patient experience.

Depending on the patient’s unique condition and prognosis, as well as the medicines being infused, doctors or nurses could choose between several different types of pumps. For example, elastomeric pumps are pumps that require no batteries or external power source and infuse medication into the patient using only pressure. Elastomeric pumps are often not as precise as an electronic pump might be, however, there is almost no chance for user error or mistakes when setting the flow rate.

Electronic pumps always require a power source such as a battery and typically operate via peristaltic mechanisms that propel the infusion forward through the use of appendages that move in synchronized motion (similar to peristalsis of the bowel). The flow rates are preprogrammed into the machine as either intermittent or continuous nonstop infusions. Most of these pumps come equipped with audio and flashing visual alerts to notify users of potentially deadly errors such as occlusion, low battery, or pump malfunctions.

What Is A Stationary Infusion Pump?

A stationary infusion pump is a device typically set up bedside to infuse fluids and medications into a patient. As opposed to portable or military units, stationary pumps are usually large devices you might find in a hospital or clinic but are also frequently utilized in homecare settings as well. There are generally two types of stationary pumps you’ll come across: large volume pumps for saline solution, antibiotics or nutrient solutions meant to nourish the patient, and small volume pumps for hormones, insulin and powerful narcotics administered in small doses.

When Should You Use A Stationary Infusion Pump?

Stationary infusion pumps are great for patients that are not very mobile such as in a hospital setting but can be mounted to disposable IV poles in a homecare setting to allow patients to be moved. Stationary infusion pumps work well for bedridden patients that require frequent medication or dietary infusions because of chronic conditions of their illness. There may be clinics and assisted living facilities that might house these large medical devices if there is a frequent need for them. In other circumstances, ambulatory infusion pumps are typically used.

Buying vs. Renting Infusion Pumps, Which Makes More Sense?

While many hospitals and medical centers prefer to buy their infusion pumps, the vast majority of pumps on the market are also available for rental.  In some situations, renting pumps is the better option.

Pump rentals are typically available in daily, weekly, and monthly rental packages. This means if you only have short-term needs for infusion pumps that you can provide the care necessary without taking on the overhead of purchasing a pump.  In addition, services like cleaning, calibrating, maintenance and testing are typically covered by the pump rental company.

When you buy infusion pumps you will also typically have a wider array of newer models to choose from. While rental pumps will generally be in great working condition, you may be renting slightly older models that lack some of the “new and improved” features that the newest pump models may include.  When you purchase infusion pumps you will also typically receive the added bonus of having the pump provider assist with the integration of the pumps with your internal systems and networks.

Whether you’re interested in purchasing, financing, or renting an infusion pump, Preferred Medical has you covered. We carry ambulatory infusion pumps and stationary infusion pumps from the industry’s top brands including Curlin, CADD, Baxter and many more.  If you’re interested in buying or renting infusion pumps, don’t hesitate to reach out to our experienced sales team today to learn more. Our customer service representatives are standing by to answer your questions Contact us today toll-free at 800-722-7865. We look forward to hearing from you!