It’s relatively easy to determine the drug name, concentration, volume to be infused (VTBI), and dose/rate for medication on an Alaris® infusion channel. But what does that horizontal bar for each infusion represent?!
Hint: it doesn’t deal with the VTBI!
This is the dynamic pressure display. It provides a simple way of assessing the downstream (patient side) line pressure. The portion of the bar that’s filled in shows the current operating pressure. The vertical tick mark represents the occlusion alarm pressure limit. As the patient-side line pressure increases, the shaded bar approaches the pressure limit (and can trigger everyone’s favorite – the occlusion alarm). When the infusion pump is running, this bar updates every 10 seconds.
For patients with isolation precautions (i.e., COVID-19 in the ICU) with infusion pumps in the room, I make it a habit to look at the infusion operating pressures to see if an occlusion alarm is imminent. That way, I can (hopefully) correct it by verifying that the line is not infiltrated, positional, kinked, etc. before leaving the room.