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New Feeding Tube Connectors Improve Patient Safety

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 01 Sep 2014
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Image: An example of the new feeding tube connector (Spikeright Plus by Nestle) (Photo courtesy of Nestle Nutrition).
Image: An example of the new feeding tube connector (Spikeright Plus by Nestle) (Photo courtesy of Nestle Nutrition).
New feeding tube connectors designed by an international standards process will greatly reduce the incidence of harmful, even fatal, misconnections.

Developed by the Global Enteral Device Supplier Association (GEDSA; Columbus, OH, USA), an international working group of enteral feeding tube manufacturers, distributors, and suppliers, the new connectors are an important step to improve patient safety. Current Luer connectors have a universal design, which allows for connections between devices that are not intended to connect (for example, feeding tube to a ventilator suction catheter; feeding tube to a tracheotomy tube; blood pressure monitor to an IV line, etc.). The new connectors, designed under an International Organization of Standardization (ISO) standards development process will put an end to these misconnections.

The new connector has a unique enteral-specific design that does not allow it to be connected to any other type of connector, and provides a locking feature that signals the appropriate connection has been made and stays in place. A female connector end for administration sets and syringes fits into the male connector end of feeding tube. The new standards will impact syringes, as well as feeding tubes; enteral-specific syringes with the new standard female connector will be required to connect to feeding tubes with the new standard male connector for medication administration, flushing, and bolus feeding.

Feeding/administration sets with the new adapters will start to be distributed in the fourth quarter of 2014. Transition connectors (adapters) will be introduced to allow the new feeding sets and syringes to connect to existing g- and/or j-tubes, minimizing disruption to consumers and allowing compatibility with existing feeding tubes during the introduction period, helping to synchronize the introduction of the new connector system. Eventually, the adapters will be phased out as sets, syringes, and feeding tubes with the new connector will become readily available.

“This has been a serious concern for decades and one for which we have long advocated for a solution,” said Peggi Guenter, PhD, RN, senior director of clinical practice, advocacy, and research affairs for the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (ASPEN; Silver Spring, MD, USA), who reviewed the new connector in the August 2014 issue of Nutrition in Clinical Practice. “Our mission is to ensure that feeding systems for patients are as safe and effective as possible. We are honored to play a vital role in helping to bring this advance about and to inform the healthcare community about its availability.”

Related Links:

Global Enteral Device Supplier Association
American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition

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