Regional anaesthesia elastomeric pump performance after
a single use and subsequent refill: a laboratory study


Dr Michael Fredrickson


Ambulatory local anaesthetic delivery systems are often limited by a short effective duration of infusion. Prolonging nerve blockade by substituting a new pump as recommended by the manufacturers, represents a substantial consumable item cost ($US300–500). We therefore evaluated the flow delivery performance of 31 single model elastomeric devices (all with a 2 ml.h−1 background and 5 ml every hour bolus capability) that had been filled, used in clinical practice and then refilled in the laboratory. For the second infusion, there was a pattern of over-infusion (< 10 ml.h−1) in the first hour; however, all pumps depreciated to < 150% of predicted by the second hour. The subsequent performance of all pumps was not only within safe limits, but also predominantly within the range (background infusion ± 15%, bolus +10/−20%) specified by the manufacturer for primary infusion. We conclude that this elastomeric regional anaesthesia pump design performs satisfactorily after having been refilled following a single previous use.