Inotropes have an immediate effect on cardiac contractility and the peripheral blood vessels. They are therefore called vasoactive drugs. Some are vasoconstrictive, such as noradrenaline, others are vasodilators, such as dobutamine, and others may have one effect or another depending on the dose (i.e.: dopamine or adrenaline).

Inotropes are drugs commonly used in the ICU any hospital, given their indications in high life-threatening situations, such as cardiogenic shock, septic shock, pulmonary embolism, etc. In these cases, as in almost all cases in ICU, health professionals’ reaction time is a key factor for saving many lives.

Inotropes are generally administered by way of intravenous infusion, using an infusion pump for that purpose. Given that in many cases, the patients are poly-medicated, using several pumps working at the same time is common.

Advantages of arcomed pumps in infusing inotropes

Syringe pumps are normally used to infuse inotropes due their higher precision in  comparison with volumetric pumps commonly used for fluids infusion. In the ICU setting, especially when managing critical situations, infusions cannot be interrupted to change the syringe once it is finished, even though the time it takes to make such a change is very short (barely 20 seconds). In these instances, the double pump system is often used: A second pump is connected to the patient with a loaded syringe and it is expected that that the infusion is carried out manually until the first pump emits a ‘syringe empty’ warning. Both infusions thus overlap so that there is no interruption in administering the drug.

arcomed’s Chroma series infusion pumps, which come in both volumetric and syringe varieties, have infrared ports enabling the pumps to communicate wirelessly. As well as being able to send the patient’s data or infusion settings from one pump to the other, this characteristic allows the arcomed pumps to use the “Piggy Back” mode, that allows two pumps tu synchronise so that one automatically takes over from the other one when its syringe is depleted. This mode allows both pumps to be configured to a certain overlap, so that both pumps are infused during this time, thus duplicating the flow but ensuring that the infusion in blood stream never stops.

Apart of this, calculating the infusion flow of inotropic drugs can be complicated, especially in paediatric ICU. In this way, having personalised drug libraries to meet the hospital’s needs with the maximum and minimum doses to be administered, like what happens with arcomed pumps, is a great help when it comes to preventing medication errors and providing greater safety to the patient and the professional. If to this, we add infusion’s quick start, the high-colour contrast touch screens and the versatility and technology they incorporate, arcomed’s Chroma series pumps are a fundamental partner in caring for the patients admitted to ICU.