A syringe is a simple pump consisting of a plunger that fits tightly in a tube. The plunger can be pulled and pushed along inside a cylindrical tube (the barrel), allowing the syringe to take in and expel a liquid or gas through an orifice at the open end of the tube. The open end of the syringe may be fitted with a hypodermic needle, a nozzle, or tubing to help direct the flow into and out of the barrel. Syringes are often used to administer injections, insert intravenous drugs into the bloodstream, apply compounds such as glue or lubricant, and measure liquids.
- 1 Medical syringes
- 2 Non-medical uses
- 3 Historical timeline
- 4 See also
- 5 References
- 6 External links
- See also Hypodermic needle.
Hypodermic syringes are used with hypodermic needles to inject liquid or gases into body tissues, or to remove from the body. Injecting of air into a blood vessel is hazardous, as it may cause an air embolism; preventing embolisms by removing air from the syringe is one of the reasons for the familiar image of holding a hypodermic syringe upside down, tapping it, and expelling a small amount of liquid before an injection into the bloodstream.
The barrel of a syringe is made of plastic or glass, and usually has graduated marks indicating the volume of fluid in the syringe, and is nearly always transparent. Glass syringes may be sterilized in an autoclave. However, most modern medical syringes are plastic with a rubber piston, because this type seals much better between the piston and the barrel and because they are cheap enough to dispose of after being used only once, reducing the risk of spreading blood-borne diseases. Re-use of needles and syringes has caused spread of diseases, especially HIV and Hepatitis among intravenous drug users. Syringes are, however, commonly re-used by diabetics and this is safe, if the syringe is only used by one person.
Medical syringes are sometimes used without a needle for orally administering liquid medicines to young children or animals, or milk to small young animals, because the dose can be measured accurately, and it is easier to squirt the medicine into the subject's mouth instead of coaxing the subject to drink out of a measuring spoon.
Syringes come with a number of designs for the area in which the blade locks to the syringe body. Perhaps the most well known of these is the Luer lock, which simply twists the two together.
Bodies featuring a small, plain connection are known as slip tips and are useful for then the syringe is being connected to something not featuring a screw lock mechanism.
Similar to this is the catheter tip, which is essentially a slip tip but longer and tapered, making it good for pushing into things where there the plastic taper can form a tight seal. These can also be used for rinsing out wounds or large abscesses in veterinary use.
There is also an eccentric tip, where the nozzle at the end of the syringe is not in the centre of the syringe but at the side. This causes the blade attached to the syringe to lie almost in line with the walls of the syringe itself and they are used when the blade needs to get very close to parallel with the skin (when injecting into a surface vein or artery for example).
Standard U-100 insulin syringes
Syringes for insulin users are designed for standard U-100 insulin. The dilution of insulin is such that 1 ml of insulin fluid has 100 standard "units" of insulin. Since insulin vials are typically 10 ml, each vial has 1000 units.
Insulin syringes are made specifically for self injections and have friendly features:
- shorter needles, as insulin injections are subcutaneous (under the skin) rather than intramuscular,
- finer gauge needles, for less pain, and
- markings in insulin units to simplify drawing a measured dose of insulin.
U-100 Syringe Sizes and Markings
1cc (1 ml) Syringe Holds maximum: 100 units Numbered in: 10 unit increments Smallest line measures 2 units: BD
(all but 31 gauge needle)
Smallest line measures 1 unit: Easy Touch
Precision Sure Dose
(31 gauge needle only)
1/2cc (0.5 ml) Syringe Holds maximum: 50 units Numbered in: 10 unit increments Smallest line measures 1 unit: BD
Precision Sure Dose
3/10cc (0.3 ml) Syringe Holds maximum: 30 units Numbered in: 5 unit increments Smallest line measures 1 unit: BD Micro Fine
BD Ultra Fine
(standard length only)
Half-unit scale 3/10cc (0.3 ml) Syringe  Holds maximum: 30 units Numbered in: 5 unit increments Smallest line measures 1/2 unit: BD Ultra Fine II (short)
Multishot needle syringes
There are needle syringes designed to reload from a built-in tank (container) after each injection, so they can make several or many injections on a filling. These are not used much in human medicine because of the risk of cross-infection via the needle. An exception is the personal insulin autoinjector used by diabetic patients.
Venom extraction syringes
Venom extraction syringes are different from standard syringes, because they usually don't puncture the wound. The most common types have a plastic nozzle which is placed over the affected area, and then the syringe piston is pulled back, creating a vacuum that sucks out the venom.
Oral syringes are available in various sizes, from 1-10 mL and larger. The sizes most commonly used are 1 mL, 2.5 mL and 5 mL.
Governmental control of syringes
In some jurisdictions, the sale or possession of hypodermic syringes may be controlled or prohibited without a prescription, due to its potential use with illegal intravenous drugs.
The syringe has many non medical applications.
Medical-grade disposable hypodermic syringes are often used in research laboratories for convenience and low cost. Another application is to use the needle tip to add liquids to very confined spaces, such as washing out some scientific apparatus. They are often used for measuring and transferring solvents and reagents where a high precision is not required. Alternatively, microliter syringes can be used to measure and dose chemicals very precisely by using a small diameter capillary as the syringe barrel.
The polyethylene construction of these disposable syringes usually makes them rather chemically resistant. There is, however, a risk of the contents of the syringes leaching plasticizers from the syringe material. Non-disposable glass syringes may be preferred where this is a problem. Glass syringes may also be preferred where a very high degree of precision is important (i.e. quantitative chemical analysis), because their engineering tolerances are lower and the plungers move more smoothly. In these applications, the transfer of pathogens is usually not an issue.
Used with a long needle or cannula, syringes are also useful for transferring fluids through rubber septa when atmospheric oxygen or moisture are being excluded. Examples include the transfer of air-sensitive or pyrophoric reagents such as phenylmagnesium bromide and n-butyllithium respectively. Glass syringes are also used to inject small samples for gas chromatography (1 μl) and mass spectrometry (10 μl). Syringe drivers may be used with the syringe as well.
Sometimes a large hypodermic syringe is used without a needle for very small baby mammals to suckle from in artificial rearing.
Historically, large pumps that use reciprocating motion to pump water were referred to as syringes. Pumps of this type were used as early firefighting equipment.
There are fountain syringes where the liquid is in a bag or can and goes to the nozzle via a pipe. In earlier times, clyster syringes were used for that purpose.
Loose snus is often applied using modified syringes. The nozzle is removed so the opening is the width of the chamber. The snus can be packed tightly into the chamber and plunged into the upper lip. Syringes, called portioners, are also manufactured for this particular purpose.
- The first piston syringes were used in Roman times. during the 1st century AD Celsus mentions the use of them to treat medical complications in his De Medicina.
- 9th century AD: The Iraqi/Egyptian surgeon Ammar ibn 'Ali al-Mawsili' created a syringe in the 9th century using a hypodermic needle, a hollow glass tube, and suction to remove cataracts from patients' eyes, a practice that remained in use up until at least the 13th century.
- c. 1650: Blaise Pascal invented a syringe (not necessarily hypodermic) as an application of what is now called Pascal's law.
- 1760: Forms of intravenous injection and infusion began.
- 1844: Irish physician Francis Rynd invented the hollow needle and used it to make the first recorded subcutaneous injections, specifically a sedative to treat neuralgia.
- 1853: Charles Pravaz and Alexander Wood developed a medical hypodermic syringe with a needle fine enough to pierce the skin. Shortly thereafter, the first recorded fatality from a hypodermic-syringe induced overdose was Wood's wife from self administered morphine.
- 1946: Chance Brothers in Smethwick, Birmingham, England produce the first all-glass syringe with interchangeable barrel and plunger, thereby allowing mass-sterilisation of components without the need for matching them.
- 1956: New Zealand pharmacist and inventor Colin Murdoch granted New Zealand and Australian patents for a disposable plastic syringe.
- 1974: First US patent for a plastic disposable syringe received by African American inventor, Phil Brooks, U.S. patent #3,802,434 received on April 9, 1974.
- 1989: Carlos Arcusin invents a form of disposable syringe in Argentina.
- Autoinjector, a device to ease injection, e.g. by the patient or other untrained personnel.
- Hypodermic needle
- Jet injector, injects without a needle, by squirting the injection fluid so fast that it makes a hole in the skin.
- Luer Taper, a standardized fitting system used for making leak-free connections between syringe tips and needles.
- Trypanophobia, a fairly common extreme fear of hypodermic syringes
- Syrette, similar to a syringe except that it has a closed flexible tube (like that used for toothpaste) instead of a rigid tube and piston.
- Syringing the ear to remove excess ear wax.
- Syrinx, the nymph from classical mythology after which syringes were supposedly named.
- Hippy Sippy
- Safety Syringe, with features to prevent accidental needlesticks and reuse
- ^ "Pediatric Oncall-Insulin Delivery-Injection". Pediatriconcall.com. http://www.pediatriconcall.com/Forpatients/commonchild/Endocrine_problems/insulin.htm. Retrieved 2010-12-30.
- ^ USA (2010-12-08). Making the unit of insulin PubMed. PMID 12060790.
- ^ a b "BD Diabetes-Insulin Syringe Needle Sizes". Bd.com. http://www.bd.com/us/diabetes/page.aspx?cat=7001&id=7253. Retrieved 2010-12-30.
- ^ "BD Diabetes-Syringe Capacity and Dose Size". Bd.com. http://www.bd.com/us/diabetes/page.aspx?cat=7001&id=7252. Retrieved 2010-12-30.
- ^ a b c "Close-up of BD 1cc Syringes-UltraFine-30 Gauge-1/2", UltraFine II Short-31 Gauge-5/16" & MicroFine-28 Gauge-1/2"". http://www.childrenwithdiabetes.com/gifs/products/BDUFS1cc.jpg. Retrieved 2010-12-30.
- ^ a b c "Diabetes Mellitus-Washington State University". Vetmed.wsu.edu. http://www.vetmed.wsu.edu/clientED/diabetes.asp. Retrieved 2010-12-30.
- ^ a b c "ReliOn Insulin Syringe Markings". Relion.com. http://www.relion.com/information/faq-insulin_delivery.htm#4. Retrieved 2010-12-30.
- ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Diabetes Health Syringe Listings" (PDF). http://www.diabeteshealth.com/media/pdfs/PRG0107/Syringes-PRG-0107.pdf. Retrieved 2010-12-30.
- ^ "Easy Touch Syringe demonstration-their syringes all measure in 1 unit increments". Easytouchsyringes.com. http://www.easytouchsyringes.com/quality.htm. Retrieved 2010-12-30.
- ^ a b c "Close-up of BD 1/2 cc Syringes--UltraFine-30 Gauge-1/2", UltraFine II Short-31 Gauge-5/16" & MicroFine-28 Gauge-1/2"". http://www.childrenwithdiabetes.com/gifs/products/BDUFS05cc.jpg. Retrieved 2010-12-30.
- ^ "Ulti-Care U100 Syringes-Product Information". Ulti-care.com. http://www.ulti-care.com/ultiguard_insulinsyringes.html. Retrieved 2010-12-30.
- ^ "Easy Touch Syringes demonstration-all syringes with 1 unit increment markings". Easytouchsyringes.com. http://www.easytouchsyringes.com/quality.htm. Retrieved 2010-12-30.
- ^ a b c d e f "Close-up of BD 3/10 Syringes-UltraFine-30 Gauge-1/2", UltraFine II Short-31 Gauge-5/16", UltraFine Short-Half Unit Markings-31 Gauge-5/16" & MicroFine-28 Gauge-1/2"". http://www.childrenwithdiabetes.com/gifs/products/BDUFS03cc.jpg. Retrieved 2010-12-30.
- ^ "Easy Touch Syringes-all products measure in 1 unit increment markings". Easytouchsyringes.com. http://www.easytouchsyringes.com/quality.htm. Retrieved 2010-12-30.
- ^ "Comparison of 3/10 cc syringe marks--half unit and whole unit scale-BD". http://www.bd.com/resource.aspx?IDX=7917. Retrieved 2010-12-30.
- ^ How to use your oral syringe | NetDoctor
- ^ "Children With Diabetes-Prescription Needed or Not?". Childrenwithdiabetes.com. http://www.childrenwithdiabetes.com/d_09_700.htm. Retrieved 2010-12-30.
Routes of administration / Dosage forms Oral
Ocular / Otologic / Nasal Urogenital Rectal (enteral) Dermal Injection / Infusion
- Intra-articular or intrasynovial injection
Additional explanation:Mucous membranes are used by the human body to absorb the dosage for all routes of administration, except for "Dermal" and "Injection/Infusion".
Administration routes can also be grouped as Topical (local effect) or Systemic (defined as Enteral = Digestive tract/Rectal, or Parenteral = All other routes).
Routes of administration by organ system Gastrointestinal Respiratory systemPulmonary • Nasal Visual system / Auditory system Reproductive systemIntracavernous • Intravaginal • Intrauterine (Extra-amniotic) Urinary systemIntravesical Peritoneum Central nervous system Circulatory system Musculoskeletal system SkinEpicutaneous • Intradermal • Subcutaneous
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