How To Flush Your IV

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 22,637
    Tori Perry, Registered Nurse with MedStar Visiting Nurse Association, shows how to flush your IV catheter to keep it working properly and to reduce the risk of infection.

    Tori Perry: Hi! I am Tori Perry a registered nurse with MedStar Visiting Nurse Association and this is Mrs. Francis Steel who will be helping me today. We are going to talk about how to flush your IV catheter.

    The first step you want to do is either wash your hands or use alcohol hand sanitizer, which we provide for you. You're going to rub your hands together until it's dry. The next thing you want to do is gather your supplies and create a clean work area. Clean paper towels work great and then you're going to gather your clean gloves, your saline flushes, heparin, if your doctor has ordered it, and alcohol prep pads.

    Next you are going to put on a pair of clean gloves and then you're going to get one of your alcohol pads and open it. You're going to clean the injection cap for 30 seconds and then allow it to dry. Flushing your catheter helps prevent infection and keeps your catheter working properly.

    If you want to make sure your catheter tip does not touch anything. Next you're going to take your saline syringe and remove the cap. Hold down on the plunger and then push up to remove the air. Then replace your cap loosely and do the same with your heparin. Removing cap, pull back on the plunger and push up to remove the air. Replace the cap loosely. Now your catheter is dry and you can take your saline, remove the cap and you're going to attach your syringe by pushing and twisting. When you flush your catheter, you're going to open your clamp if you have one, and you're going to use a gentle push/pause method to flush. Push/pause. Then you're going to untwist the syringe and throw it in the trash, being careful not to remove your injection cap.

    We're going to repeat the same steps again with your heparin if ordered by your doctor. Again, push and twist to attach the syringe, and again push and pause. When you're done, you want to clamp the IV, untwist, and throw in the trash. You can throw all of your used supplies in the trash, unless you've blood contaminated on the syringes and then you're going to use your red biohazard container.

    When you're finished you want to clean your hands again with soap and water or the alcohol hand sanitizer. Flushing your IV catheter helps prevent infection and also keeps it working properly. If you have any difficulties flushing, stop and call your nurse. If you have any other pain or swelling noted at the insertion site, also call your nurse, if you have any questions or problems.