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Top Culprits of IV Set Tubing Breakage

iv set tubing

Tubing is a very important part of IV sets, and maintaining its quality is essential for safe and effective treatment delivery. The tubing carries fluids or medications from the container to the patient’s bloodstream, and any damage or degradation to the tubing can affect the accuracy and safety of the treatment. Here are several reasons that will cause tubing breakage, including manufacturing defects, physical damage, pressure&flow rate and Age&wear. 

Main reasons of tubing breakage

Manufacturing defects

IV sets can have manufacturing defects, such as weak or faulty tubing material, leading to tube rupture over time. Sometimes to save cost, the tube is artificially thinned.

  • Thin wall: Thin wall of IV set tubing can indeed make it more prone to folding or kinking, particularly if the tubing is not properly positioned or secured in the packing or when under use. A kink in the tubing can block the flow of fluids or cause irregular fluid delivery, potentially compromising patient safety and treatment efficacy.
  • Poor bonding of the IV set parts: Inadequate bonding between tubing components, such as the needle attachment point, can lead to separation or detachment during use.
  • Contamination or impurities in the tubing material: Impurities or contamination in the tubing material can cause weakness or deformation in the tubing walls.
  • Improper curing of the tubing material: If the tubing material is not properly cured, it can become brittle or weak, leading to tubing breakage or failure over time.

Physical damage

Physical damage to the tubing is a common issue that can occur during the use of IV sets. The tubing can be accidentally damaged during the insertion of the needle or catheter into the patient when adjusting the position of the infusion set or when the patient moves around too much.

Pressure and flow rate

Pressure and flow rate are important factors to consider when using IV sets, as high pressures or flow rates can cause the tubing to rupture or break. Here are some ways that pressure and flow rate can affect the tubing:

  • Rupture of the tubing: When fluid is delivered at a higher pressure than the tubing can withstand, it can cause the tubing to rupture, compromising the accuracy and safety of the treatment.
  • Kinking or folding of the tubing: High flow rates can cause the tubing to kink or fold, which can impede the flow of fluids or medications and compromise the effectiveness of the treatment.

Age and wear

Over time, the tubing can become brittle and prone to breakage due to exposure to light, heat, or chemicals.

It is important to properly monitor and maintain IV sets to reduce the risk of tubing breakage. Identifying the cause of tubing breakage and taking corrective actions is essential to ensure patient safety and effective treatment.

How to avoid tubing breakage and possible problems?

Standard production process

It’s important to ensure that the tubing thickness of IV sets meets relevant quality standards to prevent issues like folding or kinking. The wall thickness of the tubing should be consistent and appropriate for its intended use. The thin wall can weaken the tubing or make it more prone to damage or failure.

The factories should produce and test infusion sets according to established quality standards to ensure the products are safe and effective. Cutting corners during manufacturing can lead to defects or weaknesses in the tubing or other components of the infusion set, increasing the risk of complications or harm to patients.

Besides, manufacturers should have quality control procedures in place to monitor the consistency and safety of their products. This may include regular testing of raw materials and inspection and testing of finished products before they are released for distribution.

Proper packing

Proper packaging can help prevent tubing folding or kinking during storage and transport, which can compromise the integrity of the IV set and lead to issues during use. Here are some ways that proper packaging can help prevent tube folding:

  • Packaging materials should meet relevant quality standards. For example, corrugated cartons commonly used for shipping IV sets should withstand a certain amount of pressure without collapsing or deforming. Otherwise, the tubes inside may become squeezed or deformed.
  • Properly aligning tubing with other components: IV sets have several components, including tubing, needles, and drip chambers. Proper alignment during packaging can help ensure that the tubing remains straight and does not get tangled or folded with other components.
  • Avoiding overcrowding: Overcrowding during packaging can lead to pressure on the tubing. When packages are too tightly packed together, they can push against each other, stressing the tubing and increasing the risk of damage. Proper spacing between packages and packing fewer pieces of iv sets can help prevent this issue. 
  • Avoid stacking packages too high: Stacking packages too high can increase the risk of pressure on the tubing. Limiting the height of stacked packages can help prevent this issue.

Proper storing environment

Proper storage of IV sets is essential to ensure their quality and safety. Here are some recommendations for storing IV sets:

  • Temperature control: IV sets should be stored at room temperature in a cool, dry environment. Extreme temperatures can cause the tubing to become brittle or prone to damage.
  • Protection from light: IV sets should be stored away from direct sunlight or other sources of UV light exposure, which can cause the tubing material to break down and weaken.
  • Protection from moisture: IV sets should be kept dry to prevent the growth of bacteria or mold that could contaminate the tubing or other components.
  • Proper ventilation: IV sets should be stored in a well-ventilated area to prevent the buildup of musty odors or airborne contaminants that could affect the quality of the tubing.
  • Separation from other materials: IV sets should be stored separately from other medical supplies, cleaning agents, or hazardous materials that could damage the tubing or other components.

Training of medical staff

The training of medical staff is very necessary. If IV set tubing breaks during use, it can compromise the treatment of patients and may lead to complications. Therefore, healthcare professionals should inspect IV sets before use, monitor them during use, and discard any damaged or worn-out products. Proper training on handling and insertion techniques should also be provided to prevent stress and damage to the tubing. By taking these precautions, healthcare professionals can help ensure the safe and effective delivery of fluids or medications to patients.

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