Have you had issues with Alaris pumps

  1. I recently started working at a new hospital. When I was orientated to the IV pump, we were told to be extra cautious because the Alaris pumps they use had been over infusing patients (basically free flowing the fluids sometime within the first 30-60 min of setting the pump). A month later and there's just been a death because of this. The hospital I came from used Hospira plum pumps and I never heard of any issues like this with those. The hospital/state's fix for this is to use volutrol IV sets and only place 2 hrs worth into the volutrol.

    I'm curious if anyone else is having issues like this with Alaris.
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    About tallynurse

    Joined: Jan '12; Posts: 43; Likes: 5

    8 Comments

  3. by   BFly85
    I have used Alaris pumps at 2 different hospitals for over 5 years and something like this did happen once, but we never figured out the reason. Other than that one instance, I have never heard of this and love the Alaris pumps. They are easy to use and we have very little issues with them except the air bubble sensor is way too sensitive sometimes.
  4. by   psu_213
    Since becoming a nurse almost 10 years ago, everywhere I have worked used Alaris pumps. In that time, I know of one instance where the Alaris may have "messed up"....although some people suspected it was the nurse who made the error, but blamed it on the pump.

    This certainly does not prove anything one way or the other about Alaris pump; however, I would have to imagine that if errors happened with any regularity, they Alaris pumps would immediately be pulled from just about everywhere--not just a warning to "be extra cautious." A nurse should always be extra cautious with IV meds. Once there is a pattern of issues, they should be pulled.
  5. by   Wuzzie
    I've used Alaris pumps in various formats for most of the entirety of my career (three decades) and have never once had this happen. Additionally I highly doubt if this was a known issue they would still be on the market. The FDA would pull them in a New York minute. Since this seems to be happening at only one facility it I suspect either an educational or maintenance error and your rep should be immediately notified.
  6. by   Buckeye.nurse
    I come from a hospital that used Hospira cartridge pumps as well. I wanted to hate Alaris pumps, but over the 6 years at my current employer, I have come to really like them. They are simple, easy to use, and I like that you can just add another channel onto the brain if your patient is put on another drip.

    As for the problem you mention, I haven't heard of over infusion at my hospital. If anything, we sometimes notice that 24 hour infusions run a bit long (30-45 minutes up to an hour or so). Whether this is the pump itself, or just 2-3 minutes of the pump beeping due to air in line or patient occlusion multiplied by dozens of times in 24 hours....who is to say? If the channel runs *really* long (> 2 hours), we flag it and send it for investigation. We have many, many patients on continuous chemo on our unit, so this topic comes up a lot.

    In any case, in March our hospital is rolling out a huge initiative where the IV pumps will link to IHIS charting. Any time the pump pauses, it will also pause on the MAR. This could get really interesting...
  7. by   Wuzzie
    Quote from Buckeye.nurse
    If anything, we sometimes notice that 24 hour infusions run a bit long (30-45 minutes up to an hour or so). Whether this is the pump itself, or just 2-3 minutes of the pump beeping due to air in line or patient occlusion multiplied by dozens of times in 24 hours....who is to say? If the channel runs *really* long (> 2 hours), we flag it and send it for investigation. We have many, many patients on continuous chemo on our unit, so this topic comes up a lot.
    This actually has been a known problem not just with Alaris pumps and it has to do with the air-in-line sensor. There have been several recalls with the last being in October on 2017. Biomed departments are usually all over these kind of things.

    BTW we have the Wi-Fi enabled pumps. Transitioning was pretty painless.
  8. by   Buckeye.nurse
    Thanks for your reply Wuzzie! I'm sure the recall is taken into consideration by our durable equipment techs when we flag the channels.

    I'm very glad to hear the transition went well for your unit. I'm taking the training class on Saturday, and go live is in March.
  9. by   OyWithThePoodles
    I am going to try and make this make sense.

    We found this happening with our Alaris pumps when a nurse would try to fix and "air-in-line" beeping error. The nurse would pull the tubing up a little above the chamber, so the little plastic piece wasn't sitting at the top of the closed chamber, but about an inch above it, stretching the tubing and causing it to "free-flow". An email was put out to stop this practice and the incidences stopped, too.
  10. by   Julius Seizure
    Quote from OyWithThePoodles
    I am going to try and make this make sense.

    We found this happening with our Alaris pumps when a nurse would try to fix and "air-in-line" beeping error. The nurse would pull the tubing up a little above the chamber, so the little plastic piece wasn't sitting at the top of the closed chamber, but about an inch above it, stretching the tubing and causing it to "free-flow". An email was put out to stop this practice and the incidences stopped, too.
    YES. I see nurses load the tubing in wrong all the time....you can tell when its in wrong, but many nurses don't seem to think that it makes a difference.

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