As the number of tubes used in healthcare proliferated,
incorrect fluid line connections to patients or devices led
to patient injuries and deaths. Even with less dire consequences, misconnections are time consuming and impede
quality initiatives intended to reduce errors and improve
Connector suppliers are helping address this issue
by designing out opportunities for misconnections by
creating products which comply with International Standards Organization (ISO) 80369 standards. This series
of standards for small-bore connectors define non-inter-changeable connectors and impact connector selections
for several medical device applications.
ISO 80369 has been 10 years in the making, with a
total of five sets of standards for specific applications
expected to be released by the end of 2016. As a result,
device manufacturers are employing application-specific
connectors in their new products, while healthcare facilities retrofit existing products to better comply with this
Naturally, device manufacturers focus on safety, but to
differentiate themselves in the marketplace they need to
also need to offer top performance and usability. Well-designed, easy-to-use connector/valve products can contribute to the success of liquid thermal management systems
by ensuring they function as intended.
Water-based cold therapy systems have long been used
in recovery after injury or procedures. As an aging population undergoes orthopedic surgeries, a growing number of
patients use cold therapy systems at home during recovery. These simple devices feature a cooler with a pump
connected via tubing to a cuff or pad that circulates cold
water over a treated area. Dual-tube connectors are used
to manage the inflow and outflow tubing between the
cooler and cuff.
Many dual-tube connectors, however, pose challenges
for novice device operators. Users must press multiple
latches to insert or disconnect tubing and often one line
accidentally falls out when the other is inserted. This
common problem of inadvertent disconnection frustrates
users and causes water leakage onto the patient, bedding
or floor. Poor connections also lead to suboptimal device
performance and affect therapy adherence.
A new style of dual-tube connector has been developed
to address these issues, with particular attention paid to
the needs of the home user.
An obvious, single, simple-to-use thumb latch streamlines connection and disconnection of two lines. Each line
connects independently without inadvertently disconnecting one tube. A quick press of the single latch simultaneously disconnects both lines—a key feature. A unique
shrouded latch also protects against unintentional activation. The connector maintains an open latch position to