How does a Lopez valve work?

Numerous devices are used by doctors and medical staff to treat patients. Apart from the knowledge and experience of the doctors, these medical devices also play an important part in the effective treatment of patients. If these medical devices are not used, it will not only make the treatment of the patient difficult but it might make effective treatment impossible. These medical devices consist of small parts that work together as a group to perform the desired function for which it is intended to use. Any small problem in these devices will make it impossible to function properly and achieve the desired result. Such a device that is used in bigger systems is known as a Lopez valve. Today we are going to discuss what a Lopez valve is and how it works.

What is a Lopez valve?

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Lopez valve

The Lopez valve is a three-way stop cock device that is used in conjunction with feeding or gastric tubes and keeps a closed system throughout drug administration, enteral feeding, and suctioning procedures. It is also helpful to save healthcare workers from accidental exposure to fluids and secretions. It is a highly significant device in terms of protecting patients as it keeps them safe from accidental exposure to body fluids that can prove to be infectious and cause infection in patients. It protects the patients by eliminating the use of nasogastric (NG) tube plugs and poor syringe connections. In this way, it also helps to save time. The traditional methods that are used in nasogastric therapies require the manipulation of suction lines and NG tube plugs. This manipulation of lines could prove dangerous because it exposed healthcare workers to the body fluids of the patients that could have blood-borne pathogens. As the Lopez valve uses stop cock technology, it helps in the administration of medication without disconnecting a suction or feeding line and protects the healthcare workers, and saves time.

Components of a Lopez valve

A Lopez valve consists of four components which are listed below.

  • A vinyl adapter tube
  • A polyethylene cap
  • A low linear density polyethylene valve core
  • A polycarbonate valve body

The Lopez valves are disposable and single-use products that should be used in the same way as other single-use enteral products. The Lopez valve must be checked before every use to check if it is not used before.

How does a Lopez valve work?

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Use of a Lopez valve

All medical devices perform the tasks these devices are designed for. All of these devices have different ways of working which should be followed properly to achieve the desired outcomes. In the same way, the Lopez valve should also be used as described. It is used as other single-use enteral products are used. The working of the Lopez valve is as follows.

  • In whatever application, you are using the Lopez valve, first of all, you will need to remove the packaging of the Lopez valve.
  • As the Lopez valve is a three-way stop cock, it has three ports. It includes two female ports and one male port.
  • All three of these ports have the potential to communicate with each other. To understand what port is in communication with the others you will need to turn the upper tab of the Lopez valve. Whichever port has the off tab pointed at it will be shut off and the other two ports which do not have the off tab pointed at them will be active. The active ports can help to pass the liquids and gases through the valve.
  • If you need to open all the ports and you should position the off tab at the upper side of the valve that has no port for connection.
  • If you want to shut off all three ports of the Lopez valve, you will need to rotate the off tab to forty-five degrees. It will shut off all the ports in the Lopez valve and no port will be able to communicate with the other.
  • When a Lopez valve is used in an acute care setting, it must be replaced weekly. In other cases, it can be used for longer periods. However, the replacement policies can be based on the facilities.
  • The Lopez valve must always be checked before use to watch for signs of wear. If you see any signs of wear, you should replace the valve. Also, the Lopez valve should be cleaned with the help of mild detergent and water.

Features of a Lopez valve

A Lopez valve eliminates the use of nasogastric tube plugs and poor syringe connections. It provides many advanced features which are listed below.

  • The Lopez valve includes a universal adapter that helps to securely attach nutrition or feeding source.
  • The Lopez valve helps to access the enteral systems without opening lines.
  • The use of a Lopez valve helps to avoid unnecessary line manipulation, use of nasogastric (NG) tube plugs, and, disconnections required to deliver medications.
  • The Lopez valve helps to protect the patient from potentially infectious blood or gastric secretions by reducing exposure to these body fluids.
  • The Lopez valve helps to deliver medications to the patient with ease via an NG tube, syringe, or lavage valve.
  • These Lopez valves are latex free.
  • The Lopez valves include closed valve technology which helps to protect healthcare workers from blood-borne pathogens.
  • The Lopez valve facilitates gastric lavage without the risk of splashing.

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ENFit Lopez valve

Conclusion

Lopez valves are an important part of enteral feeding systems, drug administration, and, suctioning procedures. These Lopez valves are an essential part of enteral feeding systems and help to deliver nutrition and drugs to the patients.

The Lopez valve eliminates the use of nasogastric (NG) tube plugs and poor syringe connections and consequently helps to protect healthcare workers from body fluids and secretions.

By protecting the accidental exposure to these body fluids and secretions, it helps to ensure the safety of the patients and healthcare workers. It helps to protect them from infectious fluids that might cause infections and complications.

Due to the several benefits a Lopez valve provides, it is an important part of the drug administration, suctioning procedures, and, enteral feeding system.

uzma e1714761913269

PhD Scholar (Pharmaceutics), MPhil (Pharmaceutics), Pharm D, B. Sc.

Uzma Zafar is a dedicated and highly motivated pharmaceutical professional currently pursuing her PhD in Pharmaceutics at the Punjab University College of Pharmacy, University of the Punjab. With a comprehensive academic and research background, Uzma has consistently excelled in her studies, securing first division throughout her educational journey.

Uzma’s passion for the pharmaceutical field is evident from her active engagement during her Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D) program, where she not only mastered industrial techniques and clinical case studies but also delved into marketing strategies and management skills.

Throughout her career, Uzma has actively contributed to the pharmaceutical sciences, with specific research on suspension formulation and Hepatitis C risk factors and side effects. Additionally, Uzma has lent her expertise to review and fact-check articles for the Health Supply 770 blog, ensuring the accuracy and reliability of the information presented.

As she continues her PhD, expected to complete in 2025, Uzma is eager to contribute further to the field by combining her deep knowledge of pharmaceutics with real-world applications to meet global professional standards and challenges.