Solution to Fatal Problem of Tubing Misconnections

By MedTech Intelligence Staff
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In its latest notification, ECRI Institute is recommending specific standardized feeding tube connectors.

With many manufacturers providing enteral feeding lines in different sizes and configurations, preventing tubing misconnections can be even more challenging. And the outcome can be deadly: For example, if a feeding tube is mistakenly connected to an in-line ventilator suction catheter, the feeding contents will be delivered to the patient’s lungs—a fatal error.

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In a critical notification just released by the ECRI Institute, the organization proposes a solution to prevent the misconnection of enteral feeding tubes. ENFit, the new connector design, has dimensions that conform to the ISO 80368-3 standard, which specifies general requirements for small-bore connectors that are used to deliver gases and liquid in certain healthcare applications.

The ENFit connectors are placed in a non-traditional female-to-male orientation. The administration devices have the female connector, which fits around the male connector on the feeding tube. In addition, when using the tubing accessories with these connectors (which ECRI recommends), the enteral connectors won’t attach to connectors that are used with other technologies.

ECRI has released guidance on how healthcare organizations to transition to the ENFit system. According to ECRI, California is the only state that mandates ENFit use (the legislation went into effect July 1, 2016). It is advising that facilities begin using the ENFit connectors by the end of 2017.

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