Background: Several medical devices have been developed for continuous subcutaneous drug infusion for home palliative care (HPC), such as elastomeric infuser pumps (EIP). There is no evidence on the repeated filling of EIP for continuous subcutaneous delivery for HPC.
Aim: A clinical case series report of terminally-ill patients cared for in HPC, with repeated filling of EIPs for home-based subcutaneous medications.
Methods: A retrospective analysis of each patient’s EIP-related entries in an anonymised database regarding: 1) EIP general functioning aspects; 2) clinical aspects: symptom control and local skin complications. Overall and per-patient cost-saving was also calculated.
Findings: A total of 10 cases were analysed (four 50-hour EIP and six 30-hour EIP). All EIPs had a mean number of refillings (standard deviation (SD), mode) of 1.6 ((0.5), 2); with 3.2 drugs on average used in each EIP ((1.4), 4). Approximate total mean (SD) usage time for both types of EIP was 87 (29) hours; and all EIP were used, on average (SD), 49 (23) hours more than its labelled duration. All EIPs showed a complete reservoir deflation between refilling. Only one patient had a minor skin complication and no symptom aggravation was observed, except for two cases with mild anxiety and agitation. Cost-saving analysis for the complete case series showed that EIP refillings saved, on average, €24 per-patient and a total of nearly €240, for both types of infuser pumps.
Conclusion: This preliminary study suggests that refilling is safe and reduces cost. Future research on EIP refilling using controlled and systematic methodologies are warranted.Reference:
Julião M, Sobral MA, Runa D, Calçada P, Calaveiras P, Chaves P, Gonçalves C, Faria de Sousa P, Bruera E. Repeated filling of elastomeric infuser pumps for home-based subcutaneous medications: a case series. Int J Palliat Nurs. 2021 Apr 2;27(2):107-115. doi: 10.12968/ijpn.2021.27.2.107. PMID: 33886356.
Elastomeric infusion pump refills are investigated in this preliminary study. Our readers must consider the legislation around single-use medical devices. An example of single-use regulation can be found here. Although controversial and fraught with legislative boundaries the study suggests that refilling is safe and reduces cost. The study expands the discussion by suggesting future research on elastomeric infusion pump refilling should employ strict methodologies that are controlled and systematic.