The right plastic can prevent the wrong medical connection


Luer connectors have been a mainstay in small-bore--defined as inner diameters smaller than 8.5 mm--medical applications for decades. The universal design has facilitated connecting medical devices that deliver fluids, gases, medication and nutrients to patients, but the convenience also has a drawback: Misconnections are easily made, and that can have tragic consequences. The new ISO 80369 standard has been developed to prevent the interconnectability of unrelated delivery systems. This is achieved by standardizing connectors for specific devices, as PlasticsToday reported recently, but material selection also plays a role. Eastman Chemical Co. (Kingsport, TN) explains.

Prior to ISO 80369, flexible materials such as PVC, TPEs and TPUs were typically used to mold connectors, and healthcare personnel—rushed and, often, dealing with emergencies—were known to force together connectors by stretching the material. To prevent this, "the standard prescribes engineering resins with a modulus of 700 MPa or greater that won't deform as easily as the flexible materials used in the past," says Steven Givens, PhD, Senior Polymer Application Scientist, Eastman Chemical. The company's co-polyester Tritan meets this requirement, notes Givens. Moreover, the material is chemical resistant and is compatible with solvent bonding, properties that also benefit medical connector applications.
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