Sunday, October 28, 2012

Useful Product: Lopez Valve

I got to spend a few days in ICU this past week :sarcasm:

But my nurses at the local hospital were very caring and not to mention resourceful. I had gotten my J tube on the 8th of October, frustrated that it did not have a clamp so that when I disconnected the adapter from the feeding bag to give meds through the tube, contents were free to flow out and I was losing a lot of my meds in the process...not to mention feedings.

While in ICU I had to be given medications around the clock, even while I slept. Apparently, the tiny tube was frustrating my nurses as much as it was me.

So one morning I woke up to find this device at the end plugged into my tube. It's a stop clock device called a Lopez Valve. There are three arrows extending from the middle and one extension that reads "Off". When the arrows are pointed at the openings the fluids or meds are free to flow in or out. When the "Off" extension is pointed at one of the openings, the fluids cannot flow in or out.

The blue opening accepts adapters from feeding bags, drain bags, and catheter tip syringes. The red cap is easily removable and accepts catheter tip syringes. The benefit to this setup is that the adapter to the feeding bag can remain in the blue opening and the stop clock can be turned in different directions so that I don't have to break the connection to give meds or extra fluids, or try to pinch off the tubing to attempt to clamp it so I don't lose anything by accident.

Not breaking the connection is CRUCIAL in my situation. My immunity is nothing (despite what season we are in) and like it or not, these tubes are open ports for infection. Every time you disconnect that red feeding adapter (from the bag) and re attach it, you have just put yourself at risk for icky things you don't want in there. Most don't think about it at all, and even in a hospital setting they do this routinely. But I was told by an infectious disease specialist at Barnes-Jewish to NOT do this (because, after all, we ARE having to use the same syringe every day as it is).

The first two photos are the Lopez Valve in the package (unopened -- orange instead of blue and red -- as I got these from home health. Each lasts a week). The third one is the one that they gave in ICU (basking in my boxers that I wouldn't dare leave the house in)

I have other useful products posts that I plan on making. Little at a time. ;)

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