Luer lock connector
As part of the IV set, a Luer lock connector is a device that connects a needle or a catheter to plastic tubing. The needle or the catheter serves as the female fitting, which has tabs or threads, making it possible to be screwed on the male part. In another saying, the stable attachment in Luer lock fittings is achieved by having the tabbed hub on the female fitting screwed on the sleeve threads of the male fitting. With this design, the needle or catheter could be removed and detached from the tube at any time. It can also be screwed back at any time without compromising the connection’s stability and firmness.
The Luer lock fittings—the male and the female parts—are provided with interlocking threads that connect. The male Luer lock is provided with an external housing with internal threads. In contrast, the female Luer lock has external threads. When one of the fittings is rotated, the two fittings are drawn together, tightening the seal. More rotations are done, ending with the two fittings’ mechanical attachment. This results in a secure and leak-proof connection that can only be detached by untwisting the two elements to disengage the threads.
Luer lock connector vs. Luer slip connector
Luer connections consist of two types: (1) Luer slip and (2) Luer lock. The forerunner of the Luer lock was the Luer slip. The Luer slip was designed and created in the 1900s, while the Luer lock was first developed in 1930. Functionally, the two devices seem to be similar to each other. Still, structurally, they are different because the Luer lock has threads that provide a firm connection and a more secure fit to its counterpart, while the Luer slip does not. The Luer slip’s ability to hang on to its counterpart depends on the 6 percent taper fitting that it has, but this does not ensure a firm and stable connection.
General Uses and Advantages
1. Allows Easier Maintenance of the Tubing: When some obstruction takes place in the tubing, it can be managed easily by disconnecting without disturbing the catheter or needle at the site of insertion.
2. Provides Secure Connection Even Under Pressure: The Luer lock connector provides a more secure connection than the so-called Luer slip in situations wherein the medications being injected or infused are kept under pressure.
3. Decreases Rates of Infections: Based on the study of Sunny Eloot et al. of Ghent University in Belgium in 2007, Luer lock connectors significantly prevent the entry of infections when used in long-term catheterizations, such as in hemodialysis.
When a patient has a long-term catheterization, one of the most common complications is infections starting at the catheter hub. When infections occur, this prolongs the patient’s stay in the hospital, entailing more significant expenses from both the patient and the government. Thus, research was conducted by Richard Hankins, MD et al. in 2017, whose main objective was to find out the effect of changing the lever lock system, which had caused 41.9% bacterial infections among patients with the Luer lock catheter system. After three (3) days, the rate of infection was re-evaluated. In their paper titled “Microbial Colonization of Intravenous Luer Lock Connector During Active Infusions Among Hospitalized Patients,” published in October 2017, it was reported that the rate of bacterial infections was reduced to 23%.
4. Offers Lesser Resistance: It does not significantly offer resistance to the flow of intravenous fluid.
5. Secures Firm and Stable Connection: It ensures that the needle or catheter attached to the plastic tubing remains in place and connected while a certain drug or treatment is being infused.
There are four basic kinds of male Luer lock connectors we have:
- Rotating Luer lock connector
- Luer lock connector wherein the plastic tube can be inserted into the connector
- Luer lock connector, wherein the connector is inserted in the plastic tube
- Luer lock connector, wherein the connector is inserted into the plastic tube or rubber bulb
Features and Benefits of Each Kind
Rotating Luer lock connector
This connector is provided with a rotating housing or collar, which is equipped with internal threads. When the head of the needle is inserted in the male component, the two fittings are firmly locked and attached when the housing is rotated clockwise.
Luer lock connector wherein the plastic tube can be inserted into the connector
The plastic tubing is inserted in the lumen or cavity of the connector, and the two elements are firmly locked. This kind of connector is very useful when the tubing has a smaller diameter than the lumen of the connector.
Luer lock connector, wherein the connector is inserted in the plastic tube
The connector is inserted in the lumen or cavity of the plastic tube, and the two elements are firmly locked and attached. This connector is very useful when the diameter of the tubing is larger than the connector.
Luer lock connector, wherein the connector is inserted into the plastic tube or rubber bulb
The connector is inserted in the lumen or cavity of the plastic tube or rubber bulb. The advantage of this is that the connector is more cost-effective as it has two functions.