The luer is a small-bore connector or fitting for leak-free connections used in intravascular applications or hypodermic applications of medical devices. For example, syringes, IV lines, and feeding tubes. The luer was invented by Karl Schneider and gets its name from a 19th-century German medical instrument maker Hermann Wülfing Luer. Luers were standard across the board for the transference of liquid or gas to patients. This means two incompatible devices could be connected. Problem? Absolutely. Solution? Simple, but complicated.
In fact, ISO 80369-7 is years in the making. It takes time to form leadership and develop a coordinated effort to make such a change on a vast scale. Manufacturers couldn’t implement change on their own. They needed a governing body to guide them. Other solutions like color coded luers did not provide adequate change that was needed. The newly formed standardization is designed to minimize risk of medical misconnections and will affect small bore tubing connectors across the globe. As of December 31, 2019 the FDA no longer accepts new medical device designs for intravascular or hypodermic applications incorporating the luer that do not comply with the ISO 80369-7 standard. The ISO compliance for existing products is October 15, 2021.
Think about all the different tubes a patient in the hospital might have connected to different devices. We’re talking tubes for medicine that needs to reach the bloodstream, tubes that need to access the stomach, tubes to deliver gas for breathing, and tubes to access the spine to name just a few. Prior to the new ISO standard, the luer or connector was universal; one luer that works with all medical tubing. This was becoming dangerous as more and more devices were being implemented in hospitals and accidental connections of liquid or gas were sometimes being delivered to the wrong area in the patient. It was becoming clear this was a matter of life or death.
The solution or ISO 80369-7 is to prevent cross connecting by manufacturing enteral connectors or feeding tube connectors that are not compatible with non-enteral connectors. Nel Pretech is seeing an uptick of these parts coming from medical device manufacturers as they implement the new standards in their designs. The new dimensional requirements for luers are strict and we are assisting manufacturers in their compliance. We are able to accomplish their luer dimensional inspection projects and get their products to market quickly. This is crucial in the medical world as the health and well-being of patients is considered.