When it comes to medical attention, even the smallest details in the various apparatus that is used can be of the highest significance. If you have ever been in a hospital, extended care facility, or other health unit then you have most likely come into contact with various forms of intravenous tubing; you may have seen machines hooked up from wall units to the patient or most commonly portable intravenous units.
It is easy to make assumptions about these units, if you happen to be the kind of person who prefers to categorize parts into their relative importance. Obviously, the drip mechanism and pouch, which contain the medication, seem like the most vital parts of the apparatus, but in fact the actual tubing used for intravenous delivery is itself incredibly important.
I.V. tubing is measured both in terms of length and width. It is the width that determines the gauge of the tubing, and the proper use of the tubing is assigned according to which gauge it is. The gauge will determine the amount of medicine delivered, the loss of temperature, and the size of the drip used in the I.V. line.
Also of importance to the dimensions of an intravenous line and its function is the actual length of the tube. The appropriate length for individual tubes will depend on what sort of I.V. apparatus it is hooked up to.
For example, in portable intravenous units, the tubing must be flexible enough to allow the unit to stay hooked up to a patient when they are moving, particularly if there is a chance that they might stumble and require extra line in order not to yank the line out of the needle. At the same time, a balance must be achieved so that the line is not so long that the medication (which can be temperature sensitive) does not break down due to air temperature.
The best way to ensure a standard measurement of IV tubing every time is to use a device such as an automatic wire cutter. Uniform length guarantees consistent performance, and in the case of health care delivery, standardized performance and a bit of flexibility in the length is absolutely critical.