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What Is An IV Roller Clamp?

IV roller clamp open vs closed

General description

The IV roller clamp is a part of the IV set. It serves as an integral part of the basic intravenous setup. It is placed and attached to the plastic tubing, which connects the drip chamber with the needle. Attached to the tubing provides a significant degree of flexibility in using it: it can be moved up and down the tubing line as needed to control the fluid flow rate.

roller clamp
Roller clamp

Structures and parts of roller clamp

A complete roller clamp is assembled by a roller wheel and clamp housing. The assembly process should be carried out in a clean room of class 100,000. The housing has sidewalls, a bottom wall, and a top wall. The housing holds and supports the roller wheel and serves as the rolling platform of the roller wheel. The plastic IV tube is inserted between the roller wheel and the bottom wall of the housing. If the roller is rolled, the IV tubing is either pinched over or not. When squeezed, the IV tubing is compressed, and the IV flow stops.

the roller wheel& the housing
The roller wheel& the housing

Functions of roller clamp

The primary function of an IV roller clamp is to control the flow rate of the IV fluid. The roller has two directions: either it goes up or down. If it is rolled up, the flow rate increases, and when it is rolled down, the flow rate goes down. If the roller is fully rolled down its housing, then the flow rate completely stops. If the roller is fully rolled up its housing, then the flow rate is at its maximum.

For example, if the flow rate is currently observed to be at 40 drops per minute, but you want to decrease it to 20 drops per minute, then you roll down the roller. If you’re going to increase the flow rate to 60 drops per minute, then you roll up the roller.

roll up and down
Roll up and down

Types of roller clamps

The roller clamps can be classified as normal roller clamps and safety roller clamps.

Normal roller clamps, as the name suggests, represent the standard variant of these clamping mechanisms. They function adeptly in managing the rate of fluid passage, allowing for adjustments to meet specific requirements. These clamps are characterized by their user-friendly design, facilitating ease of operation and reliable fluid flow control.

On the other hand, safety roller clamps constitute a specialized subset designed with enhanced features to address specific safety considerations. As the name implies, the safety roller clamps can prevent the medical staff from being hurt by needles.

Materials of roller clamp

The IV roller clamps can be made up of ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene). This compound provides the roller clamps with more appropriate mechanical properties, such as impact resistance, toughness, and rigidity, compared with other common polymers.

From the perspective of reducing the cost, we can make roller clamps of PE (polyethylene), which is now the most commonly used plastic.

Factors affecting IV flow rate

As mentioned in the preceding, the IV roller clamp attached to the IV set is used to control and regulate the IV fluid’s flow rate. If IV fluid does not flow in infusion, it does not always mean that the IV roller clamp is the source of the problem. Other possible causes need to be searched for. The following could be among them:

Tube occlusion

This obstructing factor could happen if the IV tubing is kinked or bent. This occurs when the tubing is accidentally caught under the patient or equipment, such as beds and bed rails. 

Vein spasms

It is a rule that if the fluid or medications to be infused are chilled, they must first be brought to room temperature before investing them. If this rule is not followed and infused without warming them first, then there will be vein spasms at or near the infusion site, which will obstruct the flow of the fluid. 

Height of the fluid container

Since the fluid flow is affected by gravity, if the height of the drip chamber is less than 3 feet above the IV insertion site, then the flow rate will be drastically slowed down. The prescribed height is 3 feet above the IV insertion site.

Location or position of IV cannula

It is a basic rule that a needle should be inserted in a very stable and less movable part(s) of the patient’s extremities. If it is inserted in flexion and extension, when the patient moves his forearms or moves around, the flow rate may stop because the flow is obstructed. If this is the case, transfer the cannula to a more stable site.

Infiltration or extravasation 

In the insertion of the needle, the hospital personnel who will do it should possess a high degree of expertise. If the vein is not punctured correctly, unnecessary bleeding under the skin and surrounding tissue and swelling will develop. If the site of insertion is swollen, the flow rate may stop. 

Unnecessary touching or hitting the roller clamp or elevating the forearm 

The patient should be instructed not to touch the roller clamp and avoid accidentally hitting or bumping it because it may cause the IV flow to stop. Advise the patient to keep his hand or arm, where the cannula is inserted, below the heart level. Unnecessary elevation of the arm or hand where the cannula is will slow or stop the IV flow.   

Cannula gauge or diameter

The proper diameter or gauge of the needle must be used. The IV fluid flow rate will slow down if the diameter of the needle is too narrow. The wider the diameter of the needle is, the faster will be the flow rate. 

Company Introduction



Liaoning KANGYI Medical Equipment Co., Ltd was founded in 1994 and is one of the leading manufacturers of IV sets, syringes, and medical parts in China. Quality is our highest priority, and our quality assurance system is certified and meets the standards of the Chinese National Medical Products Administration, ISO 13485, and the European Union’s CE mark.

We produce over 600 million pieces per year. Our products are sold across China and exported worldwide, to destinations including Europe, South America, Russia, Africa, and the Middle East.

Our company employs over 300 staff, including 50 people working in engineering and technical management. Our premises occupy an area of 20,000 square meters, with a construction area of 15,000 square meters. This space includes a 100,000-class purification workshop that occupies 8,000 square meters.

If you want to know more about us and talk face to face, we welcome you to visit our booth in CMEF Shanghai and Hospitalar in Brazil.

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