Typical Number in Hospital: Cost Bands: References: 2,3,4

Various types of pump are found in medical work. Some of the types and terms used are given below:

1. Blood pump. In haemodialysis and during open heart surgery blood is pumped round an extracorporeal (outside the body) circuit by roller pumps. Blood may also be pumped for blood transfusion, but this is less common.

2. Syringe pump. A syringe may be mounted on a motorized track which squeezes the syringe slowly to infuse drugs into the body in a controlled manner. Spring-loaded syringes are also used in some applications.

3. Vacuum pump. These are the basis of all suction pumps used throughout the hospital for sucking accumulated liquids from wounds and inside the nasopharynx and lungs. These may be small portable units or central plant maintaining a vacuum throughout a piped distribution network. They are also used in ultrafiltration apparatus.

4. Respirable air pump. A clean source of breathing air is sometimes produced with a pump and filtered to be used in anaesthetic applications.

5. infusion pump. This is a widely used term covering peristaltic, motorized syringe, and sometimes infusion controllers which do not strictly have a pumping action. They are used throughout hospitals in large numbers for the controlled intravenous infusion of drugs and other fluids.

6. Volumetric infusion pump. This describes a reciprocating syringe type of pump used for the infusion of drugs in the ward and in operating theatre. These are said to be more accurate in the quantities delivered than peristaltic infusion pumps which normally rely on the counting of drops falling in the drip chamber in the infusion set. Errors in the counting of drops due to damage, misuse or faulty apparatus are potentially dangerous.

7. Implantable or ambulatory drug pumps. Small electric, clockwork or pneumatic infusion pumps may be carried on the person or implanted. Such pumps are becoming increasingly important for long-term therapy where a hospital stay would be unnecessary and expensive.

8. Dialysis pump. This is a proportioning pump to mix a concentrated dialysing fluid with purified tap water to produce a mixture of controlled concentration in a haemodialysis machine.

Content and Design Copyright 2000 Dr. Malcolm C Brown.  See Title Page for more details