Pulmonary hypertension: Continuous subcutaneous infusions


Pulmonary hypertension: Continuous subcutaneous infusions

Continuous subcutaneous infusions

Remodulin is currently the only drug that offers a continuous subcutaneous administration option. A small pump about the size of a cell phone is used in this option. A small cartridge is filled with Remodulin and inserted into the pump. Thin plastic tubing runs from the pump to a small plastic cannula that the patient has placed in their subcutaneous tissue. SQ Remodulin is infused similarly to how patients on an insulin pump infuse their insulin. There is nothing permanently inserted into the patient. If the site falls out or becomes compromised a new site is started. The catheter is most commonly placed in the tissue on the abdomen but the upper legs, buttocks, and back of the arms can also be used.

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The subcutaneous catheter is very small and not painful itself, but the Remodulin can cause irritation and pain to the area. The subcutaneous site is changed out every three weeks or so. Each pulmonary hypertension center will have their own protocol for how often this has to happen. Like the IV dressing the SQ dressing should be covered by special waterproof dressing and should not get wet. The site should be inspected every day. Redness and some swelling are normal for a SQ Remodulin site but the patient should call right away if they notice any drainage from the area or develop a fever. Since the SQ catheter does not go into a blood vessel an infection of the site is not life threatening but still a serious problem that needs to be addressed by the pulmonary hypertension specialist.

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Senior Journal Coordinator

Zoe Kemp

Journal of Intensive and critical care Nursing