Dial-A-Flow Tubing - What Is It & What Does It Do?
A dial-a-flow extension set, or dial-a-flow tubing, is a medical device that is used when regulating the flow of a liquid or fluid through an IV. Sometimes this device can also be referred to as a manual flow regulator or just an IV flow regulator.
When you use Dial-A-Flow tubing, you can preset the dial to a specific number that will equate to the milliliter per hour infusion rate. Some infusion flow regulators allow you to preset the infusion rate in drops per minute. Flow regulators can be a great money-saving alternative to infusion pumps. Unlike infusion pumps, flow regulators are regulated manually.
There are a number of advantages to using manual flow regulators. These include preventing accidental solution free flows, providing additional protection against the drifting of a roller clamp, and protection against crimped tubing. Dial-A-Flow tubing is easier to regulate and provides a more consistent flow than you would find with a built-in roller clamp on IV tubing.
There are some things to be aware of before using a manual flow regulator or IV flow regulator. First, it’s important to understand the accuracy of actual delivered rates on a manual flow regulator vs. a manual predetermined setting. You should confirm that gravity drip variables do not affect the rate of delivery when using dial-a-flow tubing. In addition, a manual flow regulator will function just like an infusion pump and therefore eliminate any need to count the drops.
When deciding whether to use an IV flow regulator it’s important to consider a number of patient-related factors. You should consider the type of therapy, the severity of the illness, patient mobility, healthcare setting, the age of the patient, and the nurse's knowledge and experience with dial-a-flow tubing. It’s also important to understand any organizational procedures, policies, and practice guidelines that may be in place at your hospital or medical center.
If a manual flow regulator is used for the administration of IV therapy, it should be monitored to ensure the accuracy of the prescribed infusion rate delivery. While dial-a-flow tubing aids with the administration of IV medications, it does not replace the responsibility a nurse has to monitor the prescribed infusion therapy for a patient.
Before using dial-a-flow tubing, a nurse or medical provider should thoroughly review the manufacturer’s instructions for proper usage of the specific device. This will help to reduce the risk to patients due to improper usage.
How To Use Dial-A-Flow Tubing
Before using dial-a-flow tubing or any IV flow regulator, you should familiarize yourself with any internal protocols or procedures regarding these devices. The instructions provided here are representative of a general use case but should be approved by a supervisor before use.
- Thoroughly wash and sanitize hands before using dial-a-flow tubing.
- Prepare a clean, sterile work surface and work area.
- Gather all necessary supplies including alcohol wipes, IV medication, syringes, and dial-a-flow tubing.
- After you’ve gathered your supplies, re-wash and re-sanitize your hands.
- Unwrap the syringes and put them on your clean surface area.
- Remove the flow regulator tubing from the package.
- Turn the dial-a-flow to the open indicator.
- Grab the medication bag and then remove the plastic tab on the IV bag.
- Remove the cap from the spike end of the tubing. After filling the drip chamber, the tubing needs to be primed. Slowly open the dial-a-flow dial to allow fluid to fill the tubing and remove air bubbles. Be careful not to touch the sterile area.
- Push the tubing spike into the medication bag using a twisting motion.
- Hang the medication bag on the IV pole.
At this point, you can squeeze the drip chamber until it is 1/2 to 3/4 full. Now slowly open the dial-a-flow dial to allow fluid to fill the tube, removing any air bubbles. Once the tube is fully primed, you can close the dial.
Now you can sanitize the end of the cap on the PICC with alcohol and unclamp any clamps that are on the PICC tubing. Remove the protector cap on the end of the dial-a-flow tubing and attach the end of it to the cap on the PICC. Always make sure to keep everything clean and sterile.
You can now open up the dial to let medication drip from the bag into the drip chamber. The flow rate will be set using milliliters per hour. Make sure to check your specific RN instructions for accurate flow rates.
IV flow regulators use gravity to infuse. The IV bag should be hung on a high pole while the patient’s arm is as low as possible. Now you can let the medication infuse into the patient’s arm by gravity until the bag is empty. The infusion rate should be checked regularly whenever infusing by gravity. Once the bag is completely empty, just close the dial.
The above list contains only a few of the key things that you will need to do when connecting the tubing. Remember, if you are unsure or forget your exact internal procedures, consult an experienced nurse to assist you.
Buy Dial-A-Flow Tubing
If you’re in search of dial-a-flow extension sets, dial-a-flow tubing or IV flow regulators you’ve come to the right place. Preferred Medical carries a wide variety of manual flow regulators, that are always in stock and ready to ship.
Wolf-Pak® dial-a-flow tubing sets are latex free, so there are no concerns when a patient is admitted that has latex allergies. These sets are made without DEHP, a plasticizer used in some IV tubing that people may be allergic to.
If you are interested in learning more about our dial-a-flow tubing or IV flow regulators, our customer service representatives are standing by to answer your questions Contact us today toll-free at 800.722.7865. We look forward to hearing from you!