Small-bore connectors standard for neuraxial is published

Small-bore connectors standard for neuraxial is published



Smiths Medical is preparing its customers following the publication of a new standard from the International Standards Organisation (ISO), regarding small-bore connectors, commonly referred to as Luer connectors.

The publication of ISO 80369-6 will be known globally as NRFit™ to help end users and clinicians identify the correct product for relative neuraxial procedures.

The ISO standard now published globally will affect most current Luer connectors in the UK where a neuraxial connection is required. It has been developed following two high profile fatalities involving misconnections with a Luer connector. Smiths Medical has been championing the new quality initiative since it was first devised and continues to work closely with healthcare professionals to ensure they are up to speed, and prepared for, the publication of the new standard. The need for change has been driven by best practice in patient safety and is supported by a number of agencies, including the World Health Organisation, NHS Commissioning Board and the European Medicines Agency.

The widely used Luer connector allows for misconnections and misinjections between unrelated delivery systems with vastly different uses. For example, a neuraxial misconnection occurs when drugs intended for the intravenous route are administered via the spinal or epidural route, or where local anaesthetic intended for the epidural or regional block is administered intravenously. When patients receive the wrong drug the results can be catastrophic, causing them injury or in some cases death.

Smiths Medical is committed to supporting healthcare professionals who have responsibility for administering and supervising the use of the new design small-bore connectors – helping them get up to speed with the new international standards. The company is also helping educate healthcare professionals in preparation for the introduction of new neuraxial-specific connectors.

Glen Johnson, UK marketing manager at Smiths Medical, says: “Smiths Medical has been actively supporting this initiative since the beginning. We are committed to patient safety in everything we do and quickly responded to the need for change following the UK fatalities. We have worked hard to raise awareness of the new ISO standard with healthcare professionals, to ensure everyone understands the implications and changes required to comply.”

Patient safety is a priority for all healthcare organisations and the importance of reducing medication errors is crucial to improving patient safety. Studies show up to nine per cent of all patients staying in hospital experience medication related harm and many of these incidents are preventable. The National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA) estimates that preventable harm from medicines could cost more than £750 million each year in England.[1] A controlled study found 47 per cent of adverse events involved medications, and wrong dosages were among the most common errors.[2]

For more information on the ISO Standard and what it means to you, contact Glen Johnson, UK Marketing Manager at Smiths Medical, on 01233 722 100 or visit