The Infusofeed device is an infusion pump powered by a silicone balloon and is suitable for nasogastic infusion of rehydration fluids or feeding formulae.

Please not that the Infusofeed Device is currently not available for sale. If you require more information, please contact us.

Product History

Diarrhoeal disease is the second leading cause of death in children under five years old, and is responsible for killing around 760 000 children every year. Diarrhoea can last several days, and can leave the body without the water and salts that are necessary for survival. Most people who die from diarrhoea actually die from severe dehydration and fluid loss. Children who are malnourished or have impaired immunity as well as people living with HIV are most at risk of life-threatening diarrhoea (WHO, Fact Sheet No330).

The standard treatment for dehydration is oral rehydration. In cases of severe dehydration or when the patient refuses oral rehydration solution, however, rehydration fluids must be administered intravenously (IV) or nasogastrically. It is estimated that 65% of all cases of diarrhoeal disease in South Africa can be treated orally, 25% nasogastrically and 10% intravenously. Despite this, nasogastric treatment is under-utilised.

Nasogastric treatment by gravity feeding is a labour intensive process requiring constant monitoring. Most primary clinics in South Africa do not have the facilities (space and equipment) to perform nasogastric treatment. Consequently clinics tend to send all patients not responding to oral therapy or unable to drink to referral hospitals for IV or nasogastric therapy.

The Infusofeed® balloon pump is an alternative method of administering oral rehydration solution by nasogastric tube. It is a cheap and cost effective method of treatment that has proved highly successful in treating dehydration due to diarrhoeal diseases. In Lesotho, where trials have been undertaken, the introduction of the Infusofeed was associated with:

  • 50% reduction in mortality due to diarrhoea and malnutrition,
  • 90% reduction in use of intravenous therapy,
  • 21% reduction in hospital admission time,
  • reduces demands on nursing staff time, and
  • Improved relations between nursing staff and mothers.

Infusofeed Features:

  • Alternative to UV fluid replacement.
  • Portable.
  • Requires no batteries or power.
  • Easy to refill.
  • Re-usable.
  • Flow can be determined by the choice of tubing (FCT only).
  • Easy to maintain.
  • Cost effective alternative to expensive electronic pumps.
  • No electronics to break down.
  • Continuour non-pulsatile flow
  • Improved patient mobility
  • Available as sterile disposable or non-sterile re-usable.

Advantages of the Infusofeed Balloon

There is a clear role for nasogastric therapy either as a substitute when IV therapy is not available, or as an alternative when IV therapy is unnecessary. Despite this, nasogastric therapy is under-utilised, especially in clinics. Some of the reasons for this are because: 

  • Conventional nasogastric therapy is space intensive, requiring patients to be kept in the health facility while ORS is fed through a nasogastric tube by means of gravity or with an electronic infusion pump. Primary clinics do not have the space required to undertake this task.
  • Primary clinics are not adequately equipped to undertake nasogastric therapy. In addition to space, they lack drip stands and other equipment necessary for nasogastric therapy.
  • Nasogastric treatment relying on gravity feeding requires constant monitoring to ensure that the rate of flow of infusion is correct and is, therefore, relatively labour intensive. As a consequence, it may be unpopular with over-stretched staff.

The Infusofeed balloon makes use of simple technology to overcome some of the problems associated with conventional nasogastric therapy. Consequently, it has the potential to enhance the service offered at the primary clinic level.

The Infusofeed balloon has a number of advantages over conventional treatment of diarrhoeal disease:

1. Mobility

In contrast to conventional nasogastric therapy and IV therapy, the Infusofeed balloon allows mobility of the patient. In the case of small infants, once the device has been inserted, they would be able to wait outside crowded clinics with their mothers, rather than occupying limited space inside the clinic. Increased mobility is important in that it allows the children to continue with other "activities" during treatment, such as breast feeding or sleeping. The increased mobility of the Infusofeed balloon would also make it suitable for use in patients being transported to a referral hospital.

2. Reusable

The Infusofeed balloon is a reusable product. Nasogastric therapy is not a sterile procedure and the Infusofeed balloon can be cleaned in the same way that babies’ bottles are cleaned. It is estimated that the Infusofeed balloon could be used as many as fifty times.

3. Multiple Uses

Although the primary use for the Infusofeed is rehydration of children suffering from diarrhoeal disease, it does have additional uses, notably in enteral feeding programmes for adults and children.

4. Safety

The Infusofeed balloon includes a flow control device. Consequently, once the Infusofeed balloon is connected to the patient, the dosage volume cannot be altered, reducing the risk of human error.

5. Ease of Use

The Infusofeed balloon is designed for ease of use. It is simple to assemble, is filled with known quantities of suitable fluids and is easily attached to the nasogastric tube. As a consequence, nursing staff have confidence that patients are receiving the required volume of fluid at the desired rate of infusion.

6. Reduces Labour

The use of the Infusofeed balloon reduces the need for constant nursing supervision since the flow rate is controlled by device and does not require monitoring. In the context of pressure on the government’s medical personnel, especially professional staff, this is an important advantage. Furthermore, once inserted, the Infusofeed balloon can be managed by more junior staff thus freeing senior staff for other activities.

Disadvantages of IV Therapy

IV therapy has a number of disadvantages, including that it:

Is an invasive procedure which is traumatic for children due to the use of needles,

  • Requires sterile conditions,
  • Is a more skill intensive procedure, and
  • Exposes medical personnel to infectious diseases such as HIV and hepatitis.
  • The patient is too far away from a facility capable of administering IV therapy,
  • There is no one capable of administering IV therapy,
  • The child is so severely dehydrated that its veins have collapsed making the insertion of an IV line at a primary clinic difficult, or
  • The necessary equipment and pharmaceuticals are not available.

 Cases Where IV Therapy is Not Possible

In a number of cases, even when recommended, IV therapy is not possible. This might arise when:

When IV therapy is prescribed, but not available, nasogastric therapy should be administered. The failure to do so can result in death as dehydration can accelerate from a mild to a fatal problem very quickly.

Cases Where IV Therapy is Unnecessary

There is a proportion of cases currently treated with IV therapy that could be treated by nasogastric therapy. These are moderately or lightly dehydrated children who are refusing Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS) because they cannot drink or are vomiting persistently. It is estimated that 25% of all patients suffering from diarrhoeal disease could be treated by nasogastric therapy. There is therefore likely to be a considerable number of patients who are currently receiving IV therapy when nasogastric therapy would be more appropriate.

Infusofeed References

  1. Hofmeyr, I. (1996) "Qualitative Evaluation of the Infusofeed Balloon and Manzimeter" Prepared for the Health Technology Research Group of the Medical Research Council of South Africa, October 1996.
  2. "The Economic Feasibility of Infusofeed Nasogastric Rehydration in the Management of Infantile Diarrhoeal Disease in South Africa" Prepared by Business Design Matters for the Health Technology Research Group of the South African Medical Research Council, July 1996.
  3. Forbes, D. (1994) "The Infusofeed Project, Lesotho, 1993-1994; A Report on Outcomes of the Project" Department of Paediatrics, University of Western Australia.
  4. Stone, D.G., Forbes, D., Hill, R., Capes, D., O'Neil, G.1994,'Successful use of a simple elastomeric infusion pump for delivery of rehydration fluids in children with acute gastroenteritis and refusal of oral rehydration solution',Australian Society of Parenterol and Enteric Nutrition, Burbank, 10, pp. 292
  5. Stone, D.G., Forbes, D., Hill, R., Mikola, D., Elgoni, A., Boyd, A., O'Neil, G.1993,'A new method for the provision of enteral tube feeds (Abstracts)',XVth International Congress of Nutrition, Adelaide, 1, pp. 464-464.
  6. Stone, D.G., Forbes, D., Hill, R., Capes, D., O'Neil, G.1993,'Successful use of a simple elastomeric infusion pump for delivery of rehydration fluids in children with acute gastroenteritis and refusal of oral rehydration solution',Australian Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition Annual Scientific Meeting, Sydney, 1, pp. 53-54.
  7. Mikola, D., Elgoni, A., Boyd, A., Forbes, D.1994,'The Infusofeed, a simple device to improve the delivery of oral rehydration and refeeding programs in developing countries.',Commonwealth Conference on Diarrhoea and Malnutrition, Melbourne, 9, pp. 168A-168A
  8. Dilworth, O’Neil. (1992) "Improved Fluid Delivery Systems" Princess Margaret Hospital.