Alaris pumps - page 3

Has anyone had any trouble with these pumps. We keep having Channel Error and air in line problems. Just shutting down for no reason with inotropes or dialysis causing swings in blood pressure. ... Read More

  1. by   hearts2624
    Hi, don't know if there's anyone out there who has pulmonary hypertension patients on Flolan running through an Alaris. (Flolan has a 6 minute half life and is verrry sensitive). I had an error message that said air in line, flicked the line a few times and the air bubble wouldn't move, so I had to purge the air bubble out of a port. The next thing I know, my pt deteriorated right in front of me, became extremely diaphoretic, BP was 73/30 and I'm talking in a matter of no more than one minute. Is there something that the pump could have done? Is it possible that when I hit restart he received a small bolus? The medication is in nanograms, and I'm not sure if by the machine pausing while it had air in the line and then restarting it could have sent a small bolus or something like that. Are these pumps really equipped to be handling such a sensitive medication? I ended up sending my pt to the ICU and I've just been thinking about the situation wondering what happened, and if anyone out there has had a similar situation or may be able to shed some light on what could have happened.
  2. by   NotReady4PrimeTime
    We never EVER run drugs with a short half life on Alaris pumps. Nor do we run anything that's pushing a drug with a short half life on an Alaris pump. The delivery is just too unpredictable and uneven. It uses a pulse-and-pause delivery system which will cause peaks and valleys in smaller patients, although I've seen the same thing in older kids too. The air-in-line issue is huge with these pumps, especially if the tubing isn't pretty much perpendicular to the pump, or if the infusion is stopped temporarily and the tubing left in the drive channel. It's also possible that the pump in question was one of the ones that doesn't properly close the slide clamp when the tubing is removed from the drive channel and there was some free flow. We only run vasoactives on syringe pumps. Until recently we used Alaris Asenas but they're being replaced by Medfusion 3500 SmartPumps. Those too have their problems, such as no warning when the syringe is nearly empty - they don't alarm until the syringe is dry. Changing syringes can't be done on the fly either. There's a certain amount of reprogramming that has to happen even if the concentration is exactly the same. A bit of a pain and a LOT of double-pumping!
  3. by   hearts2624
    Thank you so much for your response. I'm wondering if that's what happened to my patient. It is possible that the side clamp didn't close all of the way and caused some free flow, which caused the pt to bottom out. I am just really worried that something may happen to me because of this... luckily the patient pulled out of it, but I know they are investigating the incident further. I have looked all over online and the only thing I see is that Flolan should be run through a CADD Legacy pump, and only on an Alaris in an emergency situation. So at least that makes me feel like it definitely wasn't something I did, it was just a pump issue. I am a new nurse, so I may be overreacting to the whole situation but I just don't want to lose my license over a situation that placed harm to the patient. Your response definitely helped me learn that these pumps are not good for medications such as these. I'm really questioning why my hospital is using them! Thanks again for your help
  4. by   NotReady4PrimeTime
    The hospital SHOULD be investigating this incident more thoroughly. And not because it involved a junior nurse but because it involved a high-alert drug being infused on a pump with known failures. (There was a product warning sent out about the slide clamps about 18 months ago with a suggestion that the roller clamp be closed before the tubing is removed from the drive channel to prevent free flow. If you weren't ever told this, and they continue to run high-alert drugs on those pumps, you're not at fault in any way.) This editorial describes a slightly different issue, but one I wasn't previously aware of.

    It's highly unlikely that you'd "lose your license" over this. I think that threat is tossed around far too freely. The reality is that a person has to demonstrate ongoing issues with professional practice, unskilled practice, negligence and failure to respond to remediation attempts - a pattern of poor performance- before their license is yanked. One incident, even if it results in a patient's death, rarely means revocation. In your case, your patient did experience some harm (an ICU admission) but has recovered completely. The hospital is looking into all factors that may ha contributed and their efforts will be aimed at preventing any more such occurences. Hopefully the outcome will include a change in practice so that high-alert meds are only run on pediatric patients using small volume pumps. It's not a witch hunt aimed at throwing under the bus.
  5. by   deanpicu
    One thing we have noticed with these pumps is that they can tidal a babies blood pressure. We are sure that given constancy in most other things, this tidaling is pump related. We place our inotropes exclusively on the syringe pumps and keep all the syringe pumps separate from non syringe pumps to avoid this tidaling effect. Given the screw mechanism is supposed to be constant and non pulsatile, we find the syringe pump modules pulsatile as well. There has to be a better way. Or pump out there.
  6. by   tryingtohaveitall
    Interesting. We switched to Alaris pumps some time ago (a year? Two? I don't remember for sure, time goes too quickly) and haven't seen any issues. I wonder if this has been corrected.