How Luer and Other Small-Bore Connectors are Used in Clinical Settings
Small-bore connectors are parts used to connect medical devices to tubing and accessories that deliver fluids and gases to patients. Small-bore refers to the small size of the opening of the connector.
One of the most commonly used small-bore connectors are Luer connectors—sometimes called Luer fittings or Luers.
There are two types of Luer connectors: slips and locks. In general, a Luer consists of a tapered “male” tip and wider-tapered “female” sleeve that either slide into one another (a Luer slip) or screw together (a Luer lock) to form a secure, yet detachable, leak-proof connection.
A Luer slip connector (left) and a Luer lock connector (right).
Courtesy of Beaumont Hospitals
Examples of Medical Devices that Use Connectors
Many different types of medical devices use small-bore connectors including:
- Blood pressure cuffs and other non-invasive blood pressure devices
- Breathing systems such as anesthesia machines and ventilators
- Enteral feeding tubes that deliver liquid nutrients or medicine to the stomach
- Intravenous devices such as intravenous (IV) lines used to deliver nutritional formulas and medicines
- Neuraxial devices, such as epidural catheters, used to deliver medicines to the epidural space
- Urinary tubing, such as catheters, used to empty the bladder
- Vascular access devices used to obtain blood or monitor blood pressure, gas levels and chemical balances inside a patient’s body