~ Micromotors support medical infusion pumps ~
There are over 15 million people in the UK living with a long-term physical health condition. Giving patients the freedom to live a fulfilling life is an essential part of their health care, but it can be difficult to balance with regular medical treatment. This is Dave Walsha, Precision Sales Manager drive system supplier EMS explains how advances in wearable medical technology provide patients with freedom and flexibility.
The number of patients referred for NHS outpatient care — treatment that does not require an overnight stay — have increased by 42 percent between 2009 and 2020. Many of these outpatient appointments are for recurring regular treatments such as dialysis or chemotherapy. If some of these treatments could be taken at home, not only would patients gain significant extra freedom, but it would also relieve some of the pressure facing an overstretched NHS.
Delivery of chemotherapy drugs
According to the latest figures from Cancer Research, of the 363,000 people diagnosed with cancer in the UK each year, 28 per cent receive chemotherapy – which equates to around 100,000 people a year. Patients receiving chemotherapy drugs intravenously in hospital must spend several hours in the ward each week. This can be a huge disruption to an individual’s life and the costs associated with travel, hospital parking and other personal expenses can quickly add up. Plus, the stress of dealing with a cancer diagnosis is only compounded by spending so much time in an unfamiliar, clinical environment.
While removing the hospital environment from chemotherapy cannot mitigate the side effects of treatment, receiving treatment at home can bring patients comfort and relief. They can go and see friends and family, carry out normal daily activities or simply rest while receiving treatment.
An ambulatory infusion pump (AIP) is a small, battery-powered pump that can be used to slowly deliver chemotherapy drugs over a period of several days. AIPs are small, allowing the patient to remain mobile during treatment. Typically, ambulatory pumps are controlled by a microprocessor that regulates the infusion flow, and the motor is responsible for constantly delivering medication at a steady, constant rate.
Patients living with lifelong health problems can also benefit from wearable health technology. There are currently approx 400,000 people people living with type 1 diabetes in the UK who need regular insulin injections to prevent their blood sugar from getting too high or too low.
While insulin injections should not be administered in a clinical setting, they are often a huge inconvenience in a person’s life. Frequent injections are uncomfortable and many people do not like to administer them in a public place. For the 29,000 children in the UK with type 1 diabetes, managing the condition can be particularly difficult.
Insulin pumps offer an alternative to injections. They are small wearable devices that deliver insulin into the patient’s body through a tube called a cannula. This can be at a constant, set rate, but the pumps can also deliver bolus insulin – an extra dose of fast-acting insulin – if needed.
Many modern insulin pumps can also communicate with continuous glucose monitors that track a patient’s blood sugar levels. Using this information, the motor will actuate a precise piston, a specific amount of insulin, which moves insulin from a reservoir and into the tube to ensure fast, reliable and precise delivery of insulin.
Delivery of medicines with accuracy
Whether delivering chemotherapy drugs or insulin, these medical devices must operate with extreme precision, as the slightest deviation from the required dose can have dangerous consequences. EMS is the sole supplier to the UK and Ireland FOLHABER motors that are made in a finely controlled manufacturing process that ensures they operate with high repeatability and reliability.
Since the pumps are worn by patients, they must be absolutely silent. FAULHABER drive technology with non-locking operation ensures that drive-related vibrations or operating noises are not noticeable in the device. It also delivers high power in a small footprint, ideal for keeping pumps as small and light as possible.
Dealing with a long-term health condition can be detrimental to all aspects of a patient’s life. Infusion pumps alleviate some of the practical difficulties of regular medical treatment, allowing patients to focus on living as normal a life as possible. When powered by precise and accurate motors, wearable medical technology can transform healthcare.