EURAMET research improves drug infusion for intensive care patients

Infusion Pump for an Intravenous (IV) Drip

EMPIR project inspires positive changes to the care of patients in intensive care

In intensive care units, drug infusion methods are used every day to supply vital medications to critically ill patients. In fact, vulnerable patients like this often require a high dose of medication, as well as essential nutrients, to be supplied slowly over several hours – where multi-infusion setups play an important role in the safe and controlled delivery of fluids via intravenous (IV) therapy.

However, there is still a limited understanding of the equipment accuracy and the physical processes involved – factors that are only exacerbated by the frequently urgent nature of intensive care situations. There is a crucial need to improve infusion technologies for better efficiency and precision, especially for the medical care of infants where it is a common practice to combine infusion pumps of differing flow rates together, leading to an unknown rate of flow at the point of patient entry.


Working towards the ultimate goal of reducing dosing errors, European measurement institutes have coordinated research efforts to develop a metrological infrastructure for accurate, infusion-based drug delivery (see: project HLT07, MeDD). Importantly, researchers have added a specific focus on achieving the particularly low flow rates required for neonatology, as well as investigating the effects of various external parameters - such as the consumables, types of liquid, and the quality of infusion devices used.  

A follow-up ‘Support for Impact’ project (15SIP03, InfusionUptake) – under EURAMET’s European Metrology Programme for Innovation and Research (EMPIR) – has provided a much-needed route for the consortium to share their knowledge and experience with European neonatology and intensive care communities. By presenting workshops, developing written guidelines and running e-learning courses, metrology institutes have raised awareness of the risks and best practices for infusion therapies, inspiring impactful changes to the care of the most vulnerable patients in hospitals around the world.

Please note: The project’s e-learning course is still freely available to the public through the ESICM academy website.  

The EMPIR project is co-funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and the EMPIR Participating States.

The EMRP joint research project is part of EURAMET’s European Metrology Research Programme. The EMRP is jointly funded by the EMRP participating countries within EURAMET and the European Union.

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