How To Jerry Rig A Rapid Infusion System

Rapid infusion systems of some type are available in most EDs. However, this equipment is not routinely available in the field or in ground ambulances. Here’s a creative way to fashion one in a pinch for my overseas readers.

Note: The system described relies on an IV infusion set called the Intrafx SafeSet, available in Europe. The drip chamber in this set has a hydrophilic filter membrane integrated into the drip chamber that prevents air from passing through. This is critical for avoiding air embolism. Any product that traps air bubbles will work.

Here are the key components:

  • A – a fluid bottle with your choice of resuscitation fluid
  • B – an Intrafix SafeSet, or other drip chamber containing an air trap
  • C – another infusion set, spiked into A to pressurize it
  • D – a bulb from a sphygmomanometer for pressurizing A

Bottom line: This barebones, low cost rapid infuser can be used in hostile environments and can achieve rapid flow rates. But remember, the drip chamber (B) must be of an air-trapping type!

Reference: Novel rapid infusion device for patients in emergency situations. Scand J Trauma Resus Emerg Med 19:35, 2011.

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