About Your Medtronic® Implanted Infusion Pump

This information describes your Medtronic implanted infusion pump, including how it works, how it’s placed, and how it’s refilled.

About Your Medtronic Implanted Infusion Pump

You will get your medication through a Medtronic pump. Your Medtronic pump is a small, programmable device made of titanium metal. It‘s round and about the size of a hockey puck. Your pump has 4 main parts (see figure 1).

Figure 1.

Figure 1. Parts of your pump

  • The fill port is in the center of your pump. Your medication will be put into your pump through the fill port.
  • The reservoir will hold your medication.
  • The catheter is a small, flexible tube. It will connect your pump to your hepatic artery (the main blood vessel that goes into your liver).

Your pump will be implanted (surgically placed) in your abdomen (belly) close to your liver. The medication will flow from your pump directly into your liver through the catheter that’s placed in your hepatic artery.

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How Your Pump Is Implanted

You will have a surgery to implant your pump. Your nurse will give you more information and tell you how to get ready for your surgery.

You will be given general anesthesia (medication to make you sleep) before your surgery starts. Once you’re asleep, your doctor will make a small incision (surgical cut) in your lower abdomen. They will make a space between the skin and muscle and place your pump in this space.
Then, they will place your pump’s catheter into your hepatic artery (see figure 2).

Figure 2.

Figure 2. Where your pump will be placed

While you’re in the operating room, your doctor will program your pump to deliver the medication to your liver at a constant rate. This is how you will receive medication regularly after your pump is placed.

Your surgery will take about 1½ to 2 hours. If you’re having other procedures done as well, it may take longer. After your surgery, you will stay in the hospital for 1 to 3 days, unless your doctor tells you otherwise.

‌  Your doctor or nurse will give you an identification card that says you have an implanted device. You must carry this card at all times while you have your pump, both in the hospital and at home.

After your pump is placed, you may get stomach ulcers (sores in the lining of your stomach) from the catheter. This is because the catheter is close to your stomach and may irritate it. Your doctor will prescribe you medication to take at home to help keep this from happening.

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About Your Flow Scan

Before you start using your pump, you will have a procedure called a flow scan to make sure your pump is working properly. The flow scan will be done after your pump is implanted, while you’re staying in the hospital. Your nurse will give you more information about this procedure before it’s done.

After your flow scan, your nurse will fill your pump with medication. Your nurse will give you information about your medication and its possible side effects. 

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Activity Guidelines While You Have Your Pump

‌  Do not have magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) while you have a Medtronic implanted pump. Tell your doctor you have the pump so they can order a different test.

Recovery from the pump placement surgery usually takes about 4 weeks.

After you recover from your surgery, you can go back to doing most of your usual activities. But, there are some activities you should avoid. Follow the guidelines below on which activities to avoid. Talk with your doctor or nurse if you have any questions.

Activities to avoid

  • Avoid rough physical activities (such as contact sports). They can cause an injury to your pump site.
  • Avoid strenuous exercise (such as running or jogging). It can make the catheter move out of place.
  • Avoid lifting objects 10 pounds (4.5 kilograms) or heavier. This can make your pump move out of place.
  • Check with your doctor before you travel by airplane.
  • Avoid deep sea or scuba diving. You can swim or snorkel.
  • Avoid activities that can raise your body temperature. They can make your medication flow faster. Do not:
    • Place heating pads, electric blankets, or hot water bottles directly on your pump site.
    • Go in a sauna or hot tub.
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Refilling Your Pump

Your pump will only hold enough medication for 14 days (2 weeks). It must be refilled on the 14th day. It’s very important that you go to all of your refill appointments. Your pump can run dry if it isn’t refilled regularly, and you will hear an alarm. If it runs dry, it will become clotted and damaged.

  • Call your doctor or nurse if you can’t go to a refill appointment.
  • Tell your doctor if you will be out of town at any point while you have your pump.

How your pump is refilled

The procedure to refill your pump will take 15 to 20 minutes.

First, your nurse will clean your skin over your pump. They will put a needle that’s attached to a thin tube through your skin, into the fill port. The prick of the needle might be uncomfortable.

Your nurse will use a collection syringe to take it out any medication in your pump from the last infusion and measure it. This won’t be uncomfortable.

Once your pump is empty, your nurse will insert a syringe into the fill port to refill your pump with new medication (see figure 3). You won’t have any discomfort while the medication is being refilled.

Figure 3.

Figure 3. Refilling your pump

Once your pump is refilled with medication, your nurse will place a device over the outside of your pump. This device is connected to a programmer. Your nurse will use the programmer to reset the volume in your pump so it will start to deliver medication on a regular schedule again (see figure 4).

Figure 4.

Figure 4. Programming your pump

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Call Your Doctor or Nurse if You:

  • Have a fever of 100.4° F (38° C) or higher.
  • Have any signs of infection at your pump site, such as tenderness, drainage, or redness.
  • Have swelling over your pump site.
  • Hear any alarms coming from your pump. You can use this site to hear what the alarms may sound like, and what they mean in the “Understanding Pump Alarms” section: http://www.medtronic.com/us-en/patients/treatments-therapies/drug-pump-cancer-pain/living-with/daily-living.html.
  • Have plans to travel by airplane.
  • Can’t go to a scheduled refill appointment.
  • Have any questions or concerns.
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