Impact of different syringe pumps on red cells during paediatric simulated transfusion

Larissa Perez Pardo*, Maria Angélica Sorgini Peterlini, Lyvonne Nicole Tume, Mavilde Luz Gonçalves Pedreira

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Critically ill patients frequently need blood transfusions. For safety, blood must be delivered via syringe infusion pumps, yet this can cause red cell damage and increase the rate of haemolysis. Aims and objectives: To evaluate biochemical and haemolytic markers of red blood cells transfused in three different types of syringe infusion pumps at two different infusion rates (10 and 100 mL/h). Design and Methods: A lab-based study using aliquots of 16 red blood cell bags was undertaken. Haemolysis markers (total haemoglobin [g/dL], haematocrit [%], free haemoglobin [g/dL], potassium [mmol/L], lactate dehydrogenase [U/L], osmolality [mOsm/kg], pH, degree of haemolysis [%]) were measured before and after red blood cell infusion and exposure. Three different syringe infusion pumps brands (A, B, and C) were compared at two different infusion rates (10 and 100 mL/h). Results: Total haemoglobin fell significantly in all red blood cell units during manipulation (pre-infusion: 26.44 ± 5.74; post-exposure: 22.62 ± 4.00; P =.026). The degree of haemolysis significantly increased by 40% after manipulation of the red blood cells. Syringe infusion pump A caused a 3-fold increase in potassium levels (3.78 ± 6.10) when compared with B (−0.14 ± 1.46) and C (1.63 ± 1.98) (P =.015). This pump also produced the worst changes, with an increase in free haemoglobin (0.05 ± 0.05; P =.038) and more haemolysis (0.08 ± 0.07; P =.033). There were significant differences and an increase in the degree of haemolysis (P =.004) at the infusion rate of 100 mL/h. Conclusions: Syringe infusion pumps may cause significant red blood cell damage during infusion, with increases in free haemoglobin, potassium, and the degree of haemolysis. Some pump types, with a cassette mechanism, caused more damage. Relevance to clinical practice: In many intensive care units, bedside nurses are able to consider infusion pump choice, and understanding the impact of different pump types on red blood cells during a transfusion provides the nurses with more information to enhance decision-making and improve the quality of the transfusion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267-274
Number of pages8
JournalNursing in Critical Care
Issue number2
Early online date23 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022


  • critical care nursing
  • haemolysis
  • infusion pumps
  • paediatric nursing
  • syringe
  • transfusion


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