Category:Flushing the Catheter (for Outpatients Only)

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Your nurse will teach you the proper method for flushing your PICC line.

When to flush:

Flushing must be done before and after administering your medications to assure normal functionign of the catheter and prevent clotting problems.

Flush volume:

PICC catheters are flushed with 10 milliliters (ml) of normal saline (NS) unless they are being used for blood draws, blood transfusions, or Total Parenteral Nutrition (TPN).  In those circumstances, flush volume is 20 ml of normal saline.  A 10 ml size syringe must be used to flush the catheter.  A smaller size syringe causes higher pressure which could rupture the catheter.

Flush method:

  1. Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water.
  2. You will be provided with pre-filled syringes of normal saline.  Tap the side of the syringe to force any air bubbles there may be in the syringe to the top, and gently push the air out.
  3. Scrub the the end of the catheter (the hub) vigorously with an alcohol wipe for 5-10 sedonds.  Use an action similar to that used when juicing an orange.  Scrub both the tip and the threads of the cap.
  4. If your catheter is the type that has a clamp: a)  Unclamp the cather b)  Attach the syringe onto the injection cap until secure, using a clockwise twisting fashion. c)  Inject the saline using the push/pause method (which the nurse will demonstrate).d) Remove the syringe, and then re-clamp the catheter.
  5. If your catheter does not have a clamp: a)  Attach the syringe onto the injection cap until secure, using a clockwise twisting fashion.  b)  Inject the saline using a push/pause method.  c).  Remove the syringe.
  6. Discard syring in the provided container.

NOTE:  If you meet resistance to flushing and you have unclamped the catheter (if you have the type of catheter with clamps) NEVER apply florce to flush your catheter.  STOP and contact the Outpatient Infusion Center or agency following your care for further instructions.

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