Alert highlights impact of syringe pump operation at low flow rates

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Moving forward, the FDA has requested that manufacturers make labeling changes to their syringe pumps to address flow continuity concerns” FDA (2016).

The FDA report “The FDA is informing health care professionals that when using programmable syringe pumps to infuse therapies at low rates (e.g., less than 5 mL per hour, and especially at flow rates of less than 0.5 mL per hour), a lack of flow continuity (i.e., inconsistent rate of delivery) can result in serious clinical consequences, including delay of therapy, over-infusion or under-infusion.

Reports of serious adverse events such as abnormal or unstable blood pressure, anxiety from loss of sedation, and increased pain indicators in critically-ill infants have been associated with lack of flow continuity. The FDA believes that these concerns may extend to all programmable syringe pumps while infusing at low rates. Based on current information, the FDA believes that the overall benefits of programmable syringe pumps outweigh their risks. Moving forward, the FDA has requested that manufacturers make labeling changes to their syringe pumps to address flow continuity concerns.”

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