What is a Luer Lock?

An IV cannula with a three-way stopcock and Luer lock.

A Luer lock is a threaded connection on a syringe that creates a leak-free seal. Caregivers can connect needles, tubes and other equipment to the lock to perform various activities involved in patient care. This connection is standardized, with all medical supply companies producing designs to the same specifications. Standardization allows for the interchangeable use of multiple medical devices, allowing healthcare professionals to choose the best equipment for a given task without worrying about compatibility.

A luer lock can be used during a blood draw.

The basic design was developed in the 19th century, originally as a seal for glass bottles. Syringe orders led to the adoption of the Luer lock by medical professionals. Instead of pulling and removing connections from a syringe, healthcare providers use the screw mechanism. This reduces the risk of connections falling out and creates a tight seal with minimal risk of leakage. For patient and provider safety, controlling leaks can be important.

Syringe filters usually have Luer Lock connections.

Injectable syringes may come with a Luer lock. Healthcare professionals can change the needles in the lock for procedures like preparing an injection and then getting a new needle to reduce the patient’s pain. They can select the optimal needle size, according to the type of injection and the patient, and make sure it is securely fixed. On the other hand, Luer locks can also be used in activities such as blood collection, where they can hold a needle or be connected with a cannula or IV line to pull multiple tubes of blood.

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Tubes for IV drips, subcutaneous fluids, and other procedures can get stuck in a Luer lock device. In this case, the needle can be attached to the tube and inserted, or it can be left in place to provide continuous access to the catheter. When no one needs access, the Luer lock can be capped to minimize the chance of infection. Minimal leakage can be important with a variety of medical products and also helps keep the work environment clean.

Syringes and other Luer lock fittings often indicate this on their packaging, and the lock may be visible on clear packaging. There are several models on the market and it is important to make sure that the correct one is in use. You can order special medical supplies with this feature if a patient or healthcare provider wants to use Luer lock needles and equipment. Suppliers may need several days to locate and ship unusual items, but may be able to provide service within a week in many cases.

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