Baxter Infusion Pump AS50 Not Working Properly


Baxter Infusion Pump AS50 Not Working – The Baxter AS50 infusion pump is a volumetric infusion pump commonly used in healthcare settings to deliver fluids, medication, or nutrients to patients in a controlled manner.


However, like any piece of medical equipment, the AS50 infusion pump can occasionally encounter issues that prevent it from operating properly.

Baxter Infusion Pump AS50 Not Working Properly

Baxter Infusion Pump AS50 Not Working


This article provides an overview of common problems with the Baxter AS50 infusion pump and steps for troubleshooting.

Overview of the Baxter AS50 Infusion Pump

  • The AS50 is a large volumetric infusion pump intended for adult, pediatric, or neonatal patients.
  • It can deliver fluids at rates from 0.1-1500 mL/hr with an accuracy of +/- 5%.
  • The pump has dual channels allowing for delivery from two separate infusion bags simultaneously.
  • It has an air-in-line sensor, an anti-free flow clamp, and a dose rate calculator.
  • The user interface includes a digital display, function keys, channel indicators, and status icons.
  • Power options include AC power, battery power, or an optional remote battery pack.
  • Available safety features include lock levels, bolus rate limits, and automatic stall/occlusion detection.

Common Issues with the Baxter AS50

Some common issues that may occur with the Baxter AS50 include:

  • Pump alarms and errors
    • Air-in-line alarm
    • Occlusion alarm
    • System errors
  • Problems powering on
  • Inaccurate infusion rates
  • Leaking of fluids
  • Difficulty programming or operating

These issues can result from a variety of causes that require troubleshooting to identify the underlying problem.

Step-by-Step Troubleshooting Baxter Infusion Pump AS50 Not Working Properly:

Follow these steps to troubleshoot issues with the Baxter AS50 infusion pump:

1. Respond to Alarms and Errors

If the pump displays an alarm or error message, follow the prompts on the screen to resolve the issue before continuing infusion. Common alarms include:

  • Air-in-line: Pause infusion, tap tubing to remove air, restart. Replace tubing if needed.
  • Occlusion: Check tubing for kinks, and replace IV access if needed. Consider fluid viscosity.
  • System errors: Power cycle pump fully. May require service.

2. Check Power Supply

Issues powering on the pump or pump shutting down during operation can indicate problems with the power supply:

  • With AC power, check connections at the pump and outlet. Try a different outlet.
  • If battery operated, check charge level and snap terminals. Replace the battery if depleted/damaged.
  • For the remote battery, check cable connections and battery charge.

3. Evaluate Infusion set-up

Incorrect infusion setup can also cause pump issues:

  • Use recommended tubing size – confirm proper cassette fit.
  • Ensure tubing is fully inserted into the air detector and pump mechanism.
  • Check expiration of IV bags, and proper spiking of bags.
  • Flush lines to remove precipitates or blockages.

4. Assess Infusion Site

Problems at the infusion site such as infiltration or clotting can trigger pump alarms:

  • Examine insertion site – replace intravenous access if needed.
  • Consider fluid viscosity and medication precipitates. Dilute if needed.
  • Evaluate patient response – some infiltration or blockage can be normal.

5. Check Interface and Settings

  • On the main screen, verify that the programmed infusion settings match the ordered rate/vtbi.
  • Check the interface for responsiveness, screen issues could indicate internal damage.
  • Update settings/parameters if needed. Reset bolus lockouts or other limits if required.

6. Run System Self-Tests

Advanced issues may require running the pump’s self-test protocols:

  • Access the System Configuration menu.
  • Select & run Confidence Tests for sensors and subsystems.
  • Review logs for System Information on critical components.
  • Failed tests indicate the need for qualified service of internal pump systems.

7. Contact Clinical Engineering

For recurring alarms, consistently inaccurate infusions, or failure of system self-tests – contact clinical engineering. Advanced troubleshooting or internal repair of the pump mechanics may be required.

Preventing Future Issues

To help prevent issues with the Baxter AS50 in the future:

  • Review infusion setup, and programming frequently to avoid human error.
  • Maintained pump; cleaned casing & exchange preventive maintenance as scheduled.
  • Replace disposable components (cassettes, batteries) regularly.
  • Confirm clinical staff competency with in-services & skills review.
  • Report concerns promptly to Biomed – don’t continue using malfunctioning pumps.

When to Replace the Baxter Infusion Pump AS50 Pump?

If pump issues persist after troubleshooting, it may be time for replacement. Consider replacement if the AS50 shows:

  • Recurring alarm conditions not resolved with troubleshooting
  • Inability to maintain infusion parameter accuracy
  • System failures on internal electronics or mechanics
  • Damage to pump casing that compromises integrity
  • Outdated technology lacking needed medication libraries/dose calculation

Replacement may be less costly than continued repairs on older pumps. New AS50 pumps also have updated features like wireless connectivity, rechargeable batteries, or simplified touchscreen programming.

Documentation and Reporting

Thorough documentation is key when encountering infusion pump issues. All troubleshooting steps, alarm conditions, and interventions should be recorded in the patient’s medical record per hospital policy.

  • Note the exact alarm message and any error codes displayed by the pump.
  • Document vital signs and patient response during the alarm condition.
  • Record any changes made to the pump settings or infusion setup.
  • Log any inspector actions such as tapping lines, changing tubing, or flushing access.

Timely reporting of recurring pump issues is also important for evaluation by clinical engineering and biomedical departments.

  • Compile details on the frequency and type of issues encountered.
  • Note whether alarms/errors are resolved with troubleshooting or require additional service.
  • Report contributing factors like patient positioning, specific IV medications, or pump accessories used.

Maintenance logs and service records for each individual infusion pump should also be reviewed during troubleshooting.

User Training and Competency

A significant portion of infusion pump issues arise from user error. Continued training and competency verification are crucial for nurses, technicians, and other staff who program and operate these devices.

  • An annual competency assessment of programming, setup, and alarm response is recommended.
  • New equipment in-servicing and training should be completed on replacement pump models.
  • Consider additional training when a pattern of user errors is identified during troubleshooting.

Nursing education and medical technology programs also need to provide robust instruction on infusion therapy and pump use. With accurate knowledge and clinical experience, users can help prevent many routine infusion pump errors.

Reporting for Replacement Assessment

To determine when infusion pumps require wholesale replacement, biomedical departments rely on metrics and pump service records:

  • Monitor rates of reported pump errors and alarms by model.
  • Track individual pump service and repair incidents over time.
  • Identify pumps with frequent repeat issues.
  • Review manufacturer guidance on recommended service lifespan.

Reporting and documentation that details real-world infusion pump problems provide the data to identify outlier pump models that may need replacement. Institutions can compare performance benchmarks to make the case for capital investment in new pumps.

Patient Education

Educating patients and family members about infusion pump treatment can also improve safety and identify potential issues.

  • Explain how the pump operates and regulates delivery.
  • Teach patients to identify alarming or other signs of concern.
  • Instruct who and when to contact for assistance with the pump.
  • This allows patients to take an active role in infusion treatment.

Patient education adds another layer of monitoring to promptly detect problems and enact troubleshooting if an infusion pump malfunctions.


Infusion Pump Selection and Standardization

When purchasing infusion pumps, hospitals and facilities have an opportunity to select devices that can improve patient safety and optimize workflow.

  • Evaluate pump capabilities, programming, and dose calculation software.
  • Choose pumps with proven track records and safety features like drug libraries and soft limit warnings.
  • Standardize equipment across units to improve familiarity and competency.

Standardizing on a limited number of pump models institution-wide leads to:

  • Increased clinician expertise and comfort with specific device operations.
  • Ability to float nurses across units without retraining on unfamiliar pumps.
  • Streamlined equipment maintenance with fewer pump models to service and repair.
  • Bulk purchase discounts on accessories like batteries and replacement tubing.

However, the diversity of patient needs should also be considered:

  • Different populations may require specific pump performance capabilities.
  • Provide some model flexibility between adult, pediatric, and neonatal units.

Collaboration between clinicians and biomedical engineering is key for ideal pump selection and standardization.

Infusion Pump Management Software:

Asset management software can be implemented to track infusion pumps enterprise-wide and provide data for performance improvement.

  • Maintain pump inventories and automate documentation of maintenance records.
  • Configure pump parameter defaults and drug libraries for safety and consistency.
  • Analyze asset utilization patterns to optimize pump distribution logistics.
  • Data integration with EMRs to link infusion data with patient e-records.

By centralizing infusion pump management on a digital platform, facilities gain more control over device configuration and real-time visibility into equipment issues for targeted troubleshooting.

Infusion Pump Testing and Quality Control:

To confirm infusion pumps are meeting accuracy and patient safety goals, regular testing beyond manufacturer inspections should be implemented.

  • Enable nurses to conduct daily visual inspections and confirm proper functioning before use.
  • Perform periodic simulated medication deliveries to verify infusion accuracy.
  • Randomly test pumps on patient care units for performance to specifications.
  • Develop testing protocols to inspect pump operation under different delivery conditions.

Strict testing regimens beyond typical maintenance provide added assurance that infusion devices continue operating correctly for medication administration.

Infusion Pump Cybersecurity:

As infusion pumps become more interconnected and digital, cybersecurity practices are an important consideration. Networked devices introduce vulnerabilities:

  • Update pump operating systems and software regularly to address vulnerabilities.
  • Prohibit pumps from connecting to unsecured or public networks.
  • Perform penetration testing to identify risks and remediate threats.
  • Establish cybersecurity protocols for Biomed to follow during maintenance activities.

Additionally, cybersecurity training for clinical users creates awareness of potential issues:

  • Educate nurses on phishing risks and safe computing practices.
  • Do not allow the use of outside media like flash drives with infusion pumps.
  • Confirm only authentic equipment and drug libraries are loaded onto a pump.
  • Immediately report any suspicious pump behavior that could signal a cyberattack.

With the increasing connectivity of clinical environments, cybersecurity must become standard practice to ensure infusion pump safety and data protection.

Alarm Fatigue Reduction:

Alarm fatigue continues to be a significant patient safety issue with infusion pumps. Excessive non-actionable alarms disrupt patient care and lead caregivers to ignore or disable alarm features.

  • Evaluate alarm parameters to identify nuisance alarms for adjustment.
  • Implement alarm escalation policies requiring timely staff response.
  • Consider smart pump customization of alarm volume, limits, and notifications.
  • Analyze alarm data trends to identify opportunities for alarm management improvement.

Reducing overall pump alarm frequency improves focus on clinically significant events. Optimizing default alarm settings, such as limits for air detection, can lessen noise pollution that contributes to fatigue.

Infusion Pump Failure Mode and Effects Analysis:

Failure modes and effects analysis (FMEA) is a systematic risk analysis methodology that can uncover vulnerabilities in infusion pump use.

  • Brainstorm potential use errors, care process failures, technical faults, and other high-risk scenarios.
  • Estimate the occurrence likelihood, detection difficulty, and severity for each failure mode.
  • Identify solutions to prevent or detect the high-priority failure modes surfaced by analysis.

FMEA reveals human factors, latent organizational risks, and technical points of failure – guiding targeted quality improvement efforts for pump safety.


FAQs on Baxter Infusion Pump AS50 Not Working Properly

  • Q1: How do I silence or disable alarm sounds on the Baxter AS50 infusion pump?

A1: Press the mute alarm key to temporarily silence audio alarms for 2 minutes. To disable alarms longer, access the Config menu and change the Alarm Volume setting to ‘Off’.

  • Q2: Why does the air-in-line alarm keep activating on my Baxter infusion pump?

A2: Frequent air alarms could indicate improper priming of the tubing, upside-down fluid bags, overfilled drip chambers, or cracks in the tubing allowing air entry. Inspect the infusion setup thoroughly and replace the tubing if needed.

  • Q3: My AS50 pump display is frozen/unresponsive – what should I do?

A3: Try power cycling the pump or pressing the RESET key for 10+ seconds. If the issue persists, take the pump out of service and contact Biomedical for evaluation. Do not attempt to use the pump in this state.

  • Q4: How often should preventative maintenance be done on Baxter AS50 pumps?

A4: Baxter recommends full PM service every 2 years at a minimum. Check with your clinical engineering department for facility-specific maintenance schedules.

  • Q5: Can I use an extension tube with the standard Baxter AS50 IV cassette?

A5: No, Baxter does not recommend the use of extension tubing with the AS50 infusion sets. Add-on extensions may impact pressure sensor accuracy.

  • Q6: Why does my Baxter infusion pump display the message ‘Non-Baxter Set’?

A6: The AS50 auto-detects the installed IV cassette. This message appears when non-Baxter tubing has been loaded. Only use approved Baxter sets to ensure proper functioning.

  • Q7: How long does the internal battery last on a fully charged Baxter AS50 pump?

A7: Approximate battery life is 24 hours depending on delivery rate/settings. Higher rate infusions will deplete the battery faster.

  • Q8: Can the Baxter AS50 deliver enteral feedings or non-IV fluids?

A8: No, the AS50 is designed and FDA-cleared for intravenous infusion only. Do not attempt to use it for enteral, epidural, or other non-IV routes of administration.

  • Q9: What type of tubing is compatible with the Baxter AS50 infusion pump?

A9: The AS50 is designed for use with Baxter ExactaMix 2400 series IV administration sets or FLO-GARD tubing kits.

  • Q10: How do I know if it’s time to replace my facility’s AS50 infusion pumps?

A10: Consider replacement if pumps are outdated, have frequent failures, lack needed capabilities, or are no longer supported. Compare repair costs vs replacement to determine equipment lifespan.



With proper setup, care, and maintenance, Baxter AS50 infusion pumps are designed for consistent, reliable delivery of medications, fluids, and nutrients. 

However, technical issues can occur. By utilizing clinical resources and following a methodical troubleshooting approach, most AS50 pump problems can be identified and corrected or referred for appropriate service to restore normal function. 

Thorough evaluation and reporting of pump issues also provide visibility for administrators to determine when replacement pumps may be beneficial to improve overall infusion performance.

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