Infusion devices

Last updated: Friday, March 05, 2021

Attaching an administration set to an infusion container
Some drugs may be given as direct injections over several minutes (e.g. cyclizine), but others have to be given as infusions over longer time periods (e.g. vancomycin). An 'infusion device' is used to propel the drug from its container (i.e. infusion bag, syringe or bottle) to the patient. There are many different types of infusion device available but they essentially fall into 2 groups; those that use gravity and those that use an electromechanical pump. In an acute hospital setting you are most likely to encounter the latter.

The choice of device depends upon many factors including the administration route, volume to be infused, required rate, half-life of the drug and whether it has a narrow therapeutic index, and the age of the patient. Practice does vary between hospitals, so ensure that you are familiar with your local protocols.