Lopez Valve

I was curious to see if a Lopez Valve would be helpful to me.  Even though this is a review, and I ultimately decided it was not something I would have much use for; I feel that for other’s whose circumstances are somewhat different than mine, that this little gadget would be very much used and appreciated.

The Lopez Valve is a stopcock like device.  And, like so many other supplies  we tube feeders use for multiple times before discarding, this too is labeled “single use only” .  I guess in a hospital or other managed care setting, it would make more sense to discard after use.

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a lopez valve makes the tubing clamp unnecessary

 

It replaces having to use the tubing clamp, and also the medicine port on a “Y” port adapter. If you have the long dangler tube type, the valve fits into the end of the tube, (replacing both the “funnel or “y” port with the little rubber flap cap,  and  the clamp.)

I ordered one from Amazon to try out. http://amzn.to/2csdCkX

My interest was mainly in using it to start and stop flow of my meals, not so much for administering any medications at mealtime.  I find the tubing clamps challenging to open and close, and also thought (wrongly) that a lopez valve would allow me to adjust the flow.  Maybe with practice  I could do this to a degree, but, with my experimental meal, it was pretty much on or off.  No ‘slow’ or ‘fast’ flow.

After I got settled in my chair with my lunch warm and ready to feed, I attached my feeding tube extension set, popped the syringe into my nifty Jofas clamp (enabling me to have both hands free to document my little foray  with photos.

First I added some water, to make sure everything that needed to be shut off was, and everything that needed to be open was.

lopez-valve-3-for-blog

 

Success!  No water in my lap where it shouldn’t be, and a nice flow through my extension set into my stomach.

So far so good.

Next I added Real Food Blends beef carrots and potato meal, diluted with 6 ounces hot water.

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My meal flowed well for a while, but slowed to  a stop.  I added more water to what was left in the bottle, shook it up, and poured that into the syringe.

It went through “okay”. There were more than a couple of times that the flow stopped, and I had to pinch the tubing to get it going again. It did not form a clog.  I did not have to unhook.

I think, if I were a caregiver of someone being fed in this manner, and could elevate  the syringe higher, and possibly use longer tubing (the tubing of this particular extension set was about 16 inches)  the blend would have had a better flow.

I would also imagine that if had tried this out with my morning blend, which is typically a thinner consistency, I would not have had an issue with the flow.  But, regardless of those variables, the structure of the lopez valve creates an “L” that all liquids must pass through.

The biggest drawbacks for me personally are twofold.

  1. When I gravity feed, I prefer a fairly thick blend with a leisurely flow. As the liquid must follow a bend, rather than unimpeded route, it doesn’t take much to stop the flow.
  2. I did not like having to disassemble everything to clean the tubing and lopez valve after I was done with the meal.  There was no way to use a tubing brush without taking the valve off, and no way to clean the inside of the lopez valve, other than running hot soapy water through it. (probably another reason these are created as single use items).

I think that the ideal candidate for using a lopez valve would be someone who is not particularly ambulatory, has a long dangler type feeding tube, and who invariably uses fairly thin blends or commercial formula.

If you, or the one you care for fits this profile of tube feeder, a lopez valve would be something to at least consider trying out.