Elastomeric Infusion Pump How Does It Work: Mechanism, Applications, and Considerations

by T

Updated March 18, 2024
Medical advancements have introduced various devices to administer medications effectively and conveniently. Among these, the elastomeric infusion pump stands out for its versatility and simplicity.

This article aims to delve into the functionality, applications, advantages, and considerations surrounding elastomeric infusion pumps.

What is Elastomeric Infusion Pump Used For?

Elastomeric infusion pumps are utilized for the controlled delivery of medications or fluids into a patient's body over a specified period.

They find applications in various medical settings, including hospitals, clinics, and home care. Common uses include antibiotic therapy, pain management, chemotherapy, and hydration therapy.

Elastomeric Infusion Pump: How Does It Work?

The mechanism of an elastomeric infusion pump relies on the principle of osmosis. The device consists of a flexible reservoir made of elastomeric material, typically silicone or polyurethane. This reservoir is filled with the medication or fluid to be administered.

A flow restrictor controls the rate of fluid delivery, ensuring a consistent flow over the infusion period.

When the pump is activated, the elastomeric reservoir compresses, exerting pressure on the medication or fluid inside. This pressure forces the substance to flow through the flow restrictor and into the patient's body through a catheter or needle.

As the elastomeric material gradually returns to its original shape, it creates a suction effect, drawing in air to replace the volume of fluid delivered.(1)

Types of Elastomeric Infusion Pump

There are several types of elastomeric infusion pumps available, including:

1. Continuous Infusion Pumps:
Deliver medication or fluids at a constant rate over a specified period.

2. Programmable Infusion Pumps:
Allow for customization of infusion parameters such as flow rate and duration.

3. Disposable Infusion Pumps:
Designed for single-use applications and discarded after a single infusion.

4. Reusable Infusion Pumps:
Can be cleaned and sterilized for multiple uses, reducing waste and cost.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Elastomeric Infusion Pump


1. Portability: Suitable for ambulatory and home-based treatments.

2. Precision: Provide accurate and controlled drug delivery.

3. Ease of Use: Simple setup and operation, requiring minimal training.

4. Cost-Effectiveness: Lower cost compared to electronic infusion pumps.

5. Reduced Risk of Complications: Minimize the risk of catheter-related infections and other complications.

1. Limited Capacity: Smaller reservoirs may require frequent refilling for prolonged infusions.

2. Incompatibility: Some medications may not be suitable for use with elastomeric pumps due to compatibility issues.

3. Manual Operation: Lack of automated features may require more frequent monitoring and adjustments.

4. Potential for Leakage: Improper filling or handling can lead to leakage or infusion site reactions.

Why Elastomeric Infusion Pump is Used?

Elastomeric infusion pumps offer several advantages over other infusion methods. They provide precise and controlled drug delivery, reducing the risk of under- or over-dosing.

Additionally, their compact size and portability make them suitable for ambulatory and home-based treatments. Moreover, elastomeric pumps require minimal setup and maintenance, enhancing convenience for both healthcare providers and patients.

Process of Drug Delivery with Elastomeric Infusion Pump

The process of drug delivery with an elastomeric infusion pump involves several steps:

1. Preparation:
The pump is filled with the prescribed medication or fluid, taking care to follow proper aseptic techniques to prevent contamination.

2. Priming:
The pump is primed to remove air bubbles and ensure accurate delivery of the medication.

3. Attachment:
The pump is connected to the patient via a catheter, needle, or infusion set, ensuring a secure and reliable connection.

4. Programming:
The flow rate and duration of infusion are programmed according to the physician's instructions.

5. Monitoring:
Throughout the infusion period, healthcare providers monitor the patient's response and the pump's performance to ensure safety and efficacy.

6. Completion:
Once the infusion is complete, the pump is disconnected, and proper disposal procedures are followed. (2)

Parts of an Elastomeric Infusion Pump

An elastomeric infusion pump typically consists of the following components:

1. Reservoir: The flexible container that holds the medication or fluid to be infused.

2. Flow restrictor: Regulates the rate of fluid delivery.

3. Catheter or infusion set: Connects the pump to the patient for drug administration.

4. Infusion line: Transports the medication from the pump to the patient.

5. Fill port: Allows for easy filling of the reservoir with medication.

6. Control mechanism: Enables programming of infusion parameters such as flow rate and duration.

How to Fill Elastomeric Infusion Pump

Filling an elastomeric infusion pump involves the following steps:

1. Gather Supplies:
Ensure you have the prescribed medication, a syringe for filling, alcohol wipes, and any necessary protective equipment.

2. Prepare Medication:
Draw the prescribed dose of medication into the syringe.

3. Cleanse:
Use alcohol wipes to clean the fill port on the pump to maintain sterility.

4. Fill the Reservoir:
Insert the syringe into the fill port and slowly inject the medication into the reservoir.

5. Priming:
After filling, prime the pump by compressing it slightly to expel any air bubbles from the infusion line.

6. Close and Secure:
Close the fill port securely to prevent leakage during infusion.(3)

Things to Consider While Using Elastomeric Infusion Pump

When using elastomeric infusion pumps, several factors should be considered to ensure safe and effective drug delivery:

1. Compatibility: Ensure that the medication is compatible with the materials used in the pump to avoid degradation or interaction.

2. Accuracy: Verify the accuracy of the prescribed dose and infusion parameters programmed into the pump.

3. Monitoring: Regularly monitor the patient's response to the medication and assess for any signs of complications or adverse reactions.

4. Maintenance: Follow proper maintenance procedures to prevent malfunctions or contamination of the pump.

5. Disposal: Dispose of used pumps according to local regulations and guidelines to minimize environmental impact.


1. Can elastomeric infusion pumps be used for all types of medications? 

Elastomeric pumps are suitable for a wide range of medications, but compatibility should be verified with each specific drug.

2. How long can an elastomeric infusion pump be used for continuous infusion? 

The duration of infusion depends on factors such as the size of the reservoir and the programmed flow rate, typically ranging from several hours to several days.

3. Are elastomeric infusion pumps reusable?

Some models are designed for single-use only, while others can be cleaned and sterilized for reuse.


Elastomeric infusion pumps offer a convenient and effective method for administering medications and fluids in various clinical settings. Their simplicity, portability, and precision make them valuable tools for healthcare providers and patients alike.

By understanding their mechanism, applications, and considerations, healthcare professionals can maximize the benefits of elastomeric infusion pumps while ensuring patient safety and comfort.


  1. Elastomeric Infusion Pump How does it Work? (Top of FormIllustrated Manual for Nursing Practice)
  2. Process of Drug Delivery with elastomeric infusion pumps (Infusion Nursing: An Evidence Based Approach)
  3. How to Fill Elastomeric Infusion Pump (Illustrated Manual for Nursing Practice)
  4. Types of Elastomeric Infusion Pump (Medical Instrumentation: Application and Design)
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