4 Applications of Diaphragm Pumps in Medical Settings

The global market for diaphragm pumps has been steadily on the rise in recent years.

In 2021, diaphragm pumps had a market size value of USD$7.32 billion. And from 2022 to 2029, the estimated compound annual growth rate (CAGR) is 5.5%. Key factors driving it include rising investments in water treatment facilities as well as money from the oil and gas industry.

One can’t overlook these pumps’ significance in medical settings, though. They actually play a critical role in making some essential medical procedures work more efficiently. The result? Improved patient care outcomes.

Diaphragm pumps are known for their precise operation, which leads to reliable performance. In the medical field, one can think of oxygen concentrators and blood pressure monitoring devices as examples of healthcare tools that rely heavily on diaphragm pumps to function properly. But those are just some of the many medical applications for a diaphragm pump.

Discussed below are specific ways diaphragm pumps are applied in the medical setting to truly appreciate the breadth of their impact on enhancing healthcare practices. Read on to learn more.

How do diaphragm pumps work?

Diaphragm pumps are positive displacement pumps. Their main function is to move fluids. Processes that take place when diaphragm pumps work are expansion and contraction. These processes are repeated, increasing the pressure of the pumped fluid.


A flexible diaphragm that separates the fluid from the pump’s internal moving parts makes the pumping action possible. Once pressure builds up in the diaphragm on one side, the fluid then starts to move out of the pump chamber. A continuous pumping motion follows to move more fluid out.

Types of diaphragm pumps commonly used in medical settings.

We’ve learned in the previous section that diaphragm pumps from reliable manufacturers like KNF have become an indispensable tool in healthcare. But what specific types of diaphragm pumps are used in medical procedures? There are two commonly used types: mechanical and air-operated pumps.

How do these two diaphragm pump types differ? The former is ideal for laboratory applications, especially when transferring high-viscosity fluids. It’s self-priming and capable of handling not only fluid but also dry materials. The latter, on the other hand, is more applicable in medical procedures or processes that require constant and steady fluid transfer or when filtering and metering are also necessary.

Both pump types are efficient and versatile. With at least 20% of intensive care unit (ICU) patients receiving intravenous (IV) fluid resuscitation, according to a 2018 study, both diaphragm pump types play a crucial supporting role during IV fluid transfer and filtering. Even for other medical procedures that involve fluid transfer, both can be a reliable and precise solution.

How do diaphragm pumps work

Specific applications of diaphragm pumps in medical settings

Here are a few examples of how diaphragm pumps play a critical role in healthcare:

Oxygen concentrators

These medical devices provide a high level of oxygen to those suffering from respiratory conditions. Oxygen concentrators basically extract and concentrate oxygen from ambient air.

The use of diaphragm pumps in oxygen concentrators

So, how are diaphragm pumps applied in oxygen concentrators? There are a couple of ways a diaphragm pump helps oxygen concentrators function properly. For one, it eliminates the need for frequent replacement or refill of the cylinders. How? By providing a reliable and continuous oxygen supply. For patients suffering from chronic respiratory conditions, it’d mean uninterrupted therapy.

The flow rate of oxygen concentrators also relies on a diaphragm pump for precise control. Without diaphragm pumps, it’d be difficult for healthcare professionals to deliver optimal oxygen therapy that enhances patient comfort and safety. Basically, tailoring the oxygen delivery to the specific needs of a patient can be a real challenge.

Blood pressure monitoring

A patient’s cardiovascular health is usually measured by the person’s blood pressure. That’s why blood pressure monitoring is a critical medical practice. With accurate blood pressure measurements, healthcare professionals can assess hypertension and other cardiovascular disease risk. Not only that, but blood pressure monitoring also helps them know whether a specific treatment intervention has been effective or not.

The use of diaphragm pumps in blood pressure monitors

Again, the real question is, how are diaphragm pumps used in blood pressure monitoring tools? The answer lies in the blood pressure cuff. What a pump does is generate the air pressure required to inflate the cuff. It does the inflation to a level just enough for a temporary occlusion of the brachial artery.

The diaphragm pump’s role doesn’t stop in the inflation phase. That’s because the gradual deflation of the cuff is also done using the pump, allowing blood flow to resume. Healthcare professionals can then measure the systolic and diastolic pressures.

Dental Equipment

Ultrasonic scalers, suction units, and dental drills are some of the pieces of equipment dental professionals use to provide oral healthcare services, such as cleanings and fillings.

Dental Equipment

The use of diaphragm pumps in dental equipment

Still, the question is how diaphragm pumps work in dental equipment. A pump plays a significant role, specifically in suction units. It creates the negative pressure that suction requires to extract fluids and debris from a patient’s mouth effectively.

Wound care devices

Healthcare professionals use wound care devices like negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT) systems to manage and treat different wound types effectively.

The use of diaphragm pumps in wound care devices

Since NPWT systems apply negative pressure to the wound bed using a vacuum system, a diaphragm pump is there to generate the required vacuum pressure for NPWT systems to work properly. Not only that, but it also creates a continuous, controlled suction force for more effective wound healing.


Diaphragm pumps are invaluable in medical settings. They contribute to the success of various medical procedures and treatments, such as blood pressure monitoring and wound care. With the 2021 Future of Healthcare Report saying that 80% of healthcare providers will invest more in technological innovations over the next five years, one can expect to see diaphragm pumps incorporated into more medical procedures and treatments in the coming years.