alaris pump: air-in-line alarm. what's your method of removing air bubbles?

  1. Just curious how you guys do it?

    I was watching this video

    I do understand the need to use a syringe and attach the syringe to the lower port to aspirate that air (which is a huge amount). But after that, the people in the video mentioned that those little bubbles that they started pointing to aren't problematic to patients.
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    Joined: Feb '11; Posts: 33; Likes: 5


  3. by   LaughingRN
    We use alaris pumps, after having the pump beep multiple times for "air in the line" with no visible air...I decided to try a new approach. Open the pump where you feed the line and you will see two circle glass windows that are actually sensors...take an alcohol wipe and clean the windows...

    98% of the time the problem is solved...dirty sensors equal not working sensors!

    Trust me and try it
  4. by   TiffyRN
    Oh LaughingRN, I will have to try your alcohol swab trick.

    We have horrible problems with "air-in-line" alarm on our Alaris pumps. And we can usually visualize a small bubble. In our environment (NICU), we are encouraged to minimize all breaks in the IV line, so we would look down on the method described by the video whereby one would break the line 2-3 times to aspirate air. Usually, our air-in-line in immediately below the infusion chamber and we will flick the heck out of it to get the air to float back to the drip chamber. If we have let the tubing run dry (we are only allowed to put 2 hours IV fluid in our burretrols at a time), we will clamp to the baby, attach a syringe below the air bubble and re-prime into the syringe. It's a real pain.

    Another trick (it may be old wives tale) is to maximize the distance from the drip chamber to the IV pump. Our drip chambers often hand at or below the IV pump as we have the extra length from a burretrol set (they say these are going away soon, yeah!). I will often extend the IV pole as high up as it will go to maximize the distance, the theory being this allows those air bubbles to naturally ascend up to the drip chamber.

    I discussed their frustrating pumps with an Alaris rep once. They said I shouldn't have to put that much distance between the drip chamber and the pump (ok, whatever, it seems to work) and that it's probably because our nurse manager required that the highest possible sensitivity be used for our air bubbles. The sensitivity issue makes sense, whereas adults can handle the small bubbles demonstrated on the video, a 600 gram micro-preemie cannot. I am amused how the rep explained how of course it wasn't the pump's fault.
  5. by   Sun0408
    We also use the Alaris pumps and they can be a pain. I stretch the tubing when I prime it especially the area that goes in to pump.. I have found air trapped in there and the stretching allows for the fluid to push it out. Rarely do I have "air in line" anymore.
  6. by   redhead_NURSE98!
    The rep came and did an inservice recently, and said slow priming helps with the air problem.