The common misconception that infusion pump occlusion alarms will signal a peripheral IV infiltration event is a serious threat to patient safety.



No matter what you’ve been told, infusion pump pressure alarms do not detect infiltrations. 

The ivWatch Model 400 is the only device to receive clearance, globally, to offer early detection of infiltrations/extravasations. Other companies, from infusion pumps or liquid flow sensors, may include language to imply they are detecting infiltrations, but they do not. They are designed to detect other complications or issues, such as occlusions or cross-flow in multi-infusion settings.


Confirmation from Industry Resources

A common misconception still persists that occlusion alarms on infusion pumps will signal infiltration.

ECRI Institute is not aware of any currently marketed infusion pump that can reliably detect infiltration.
ECRI Evaluations & Guidance: Infiltration during Infusion Therapy: Why It Occurs and How to Prevent It
Published 2016 Apr;3
Do not rely on EID alarms to detect intravenous IV infiltration or extravasation, as these alarms are not intended to detect disruption of the fluid flow pathway.Infusion Therapy Standards of Practice: Supplement to January/February 2016 Volume 39, Number 1S ISSSN 1533-1438 Standard 24 – Flow Control Devices
Monitoring of inline intravenous pressure is not useful for predicting or detecting infiltration of peripheral catheter sites in infants.Inability of Inline Pressure Monitoring to Predict or Detect Infiltration of Peripheral Intravenous Catheters in Infants. Clin. Pharm. 1990 Apr;9 (4):286-92. Phelps SJ1, Tolley EA, Cochran EB.

Infusion pumps will alarm for occlusions only when downstream pressure reaches a specified value; elevated pressures resulting from infiltration are typically far lower than levels triggering occlusion alarms.

Clinician expectation and a common misconception is that as an infiltration progresses, sufficient extravascular pressure will develop to trigger an occlusion alarm.
ECRI Exclusive Hazard Report: High Priority- H0265: Infusion Pump Occlusion Alarms Cannot Detect Infiltrations
Published: 2015 Jul;8
Relying on an infusion pump’s downstream occlusion alarm to identify an infiltration condition is not good practice.IV Infiltration Be Alarmed When Your Infusion Pump Isn't
PA PSRS Patient Saf. Advis. 2007 Sep;4(3):97-9.

Leading Infusion Pump Companies Recognize the Need

ivWatch is working with global leaders to improve patient safety with our infiltration detection technology.

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Thank you for requesting more information about the ivWatch Clinical Studies. The ivWatch Model 400 is the only continuous monitoring device for the early detection of IV infiltration and extravasation events.

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