St. Luke's Hospital
Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
Find a Physician Payment Options Locations & Directions
Follow us on: facebook twitter Mobile Email Page Email Page Print Page Print Page Increase Font Size Decrease Font Size Font Size
America's 50 Best Hospitals
Meet the Doctor
Spirit of Women
Community Health Needs Assessment
Home > Health Information

Multimedia Encyclopedia

    Print-Friendly
    Bookmarks

    Central venous catheter - flushing

    Central venous access device - care; CVAD - care

    You have a central venous catheter. This is a tube that goes into a vein in your chest. It will help carry nutrients and medicine into your body. It will also be used to take blood when you need to have blood tests.

    These catheters are used when people need medical treatment over a long period of time.

    • You may need antibiotics or other medicines for weeks to months.
    • You may need extra nutrition because your bowels are not working correctly.
    • You may be receiving kidney dialysis.

    You will need to make sure the skin where the catheter is placed stays healthy. This will help protect you from infection. You will need to check the skin and change the special bandages (dressings) around the site about once a week. See also: Central venous catheter-dressing change

    You will also need to rinse out the catheter after every use. This is called “flushing.” Sometimes you will also need to flush it between uses. A friend, family member, caregiver, or your doctor may be able to help you.

    It is okay to take showers and baths 7 to10 days after your catheter was put in place. When you do, make sure the dressings are secure and your catheter site is staying dry. Do not let the catheter site go under water if you are soaking in the bathtub.

    Supplies You Will Need

    Your doctor will give you a prescription for the supplies you will need. You can buy these at a medical supply store. It will be helpful to know the name of your catheter and what company made it. Write this information down and keep it handy.

    To flush your catheter, you will need:

    • Clean paper towels
    • Saline syringes (clear), and maybe heparin syringes (yellow)
    • Alcohol wipes
    • Sterile gloves
    • “Sharps” container. This is a special container used for syringes and needles.

    How to Flush Your Catheter

    You will flush your catheter in a sterile (very clean) way. Follow these steps:

    1. Wash your hands for 30 seconds with soap and water. Be sure to wash between your fingers and under your nails.
    2. Dry with a clean paper towel.
    3. Set up your supplies on a clean surface on a new paper towel.
    4. Put on a pair of sterile gloves.
    5. Remove the cap on the saline syringe and set the cap down on the paper towel. Do not let the uncapped end of the syringe touch the paper towel or anything else.
    6. Unclip the clamp on the end of the catheter and wipe the end of the catheter with an alcohol wipe.
    7. Screw the saline syringe to the catheter to attach it.
    8. Inject the saline slowly into the catheter by gently pushing on the plunger. Do a little, then stop, then do some more. Inject all the saline into the catheter. Do not force it. Call your doctor or nurse if it is not working.
    9. When you are done, unscrew the syringe and put it in your sharps container.
    10. Clean the end of the catheter again with another alcohol wipe.
    11. Put the clamp on the catheter if you are done.

    Ask your doctor if you also need to flush your catheter with heparin. Heparin is a medicine that helps prevent blood clots. Follow these steps if you do:

    1. Screw the heparin syringe to your catheter, the same way you attached the saline syringe.
    2. Flush slowly by pushing on the plunger and injecting a little at a time, the same way you did the saline.
    3. Unscrew the heparin syringe from your catheter. Put it in your “sharps” container.
    4. Clean the end of your catheter with a new alcohol wipe.
    5. Put the clamp back on your catheter.

    Other Care

    Keep all the clamps on your catheter closed at all times. It is a good idea to change the caps at the end of your catheter (called the “claves”) when you change your catheter dressing and after you have blood taken.

    When to Call the Doctor

    Call your doctor or nurse if you:

    • Are having trouble flushing your catheter
    • Have bleeding, redness, or swelling at the catheter site
    • Notice leaking, or the catheter is cut or cracked
    • Have pain near the site or in your neck, face, chest, or arm
    • Have signs of infection (fever, chills)
    • Are short of breath
    • Feel dizzy

    Also call your doctor if your catheter:

    • Is coming out of your vein
    • Seems blocked

    BACK TO TOP

          A Closer Look

            Talking to your MD

              Self Care

              Tests for Central venous catheter - flushing

                Review Date: 12/27/2012

                Reviewed By: Jennifer K. Mannheim, ARNP, Medical Staff, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health, Seattle Children's Hospital; and Shabir Bhimji MD, PhD, Specializing in General Surgery, Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery, Midland, TX. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

                The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
                adam.com

                A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Fire Fox and chrome browser.


                Back  |  Top
                About Us
                Contact Us
                History
                Mission
                Locations & Directions
                Quality Reports
                Annual Reports
                Honors & Awards
                Community Health Needs
                Assessment

                Newsroom
                Services
                Brain & Spine
                Cancer
                Heart
                Maternity
                Orthopedics
                Pulmonary
                Sleep Medicine
                Urgent Care
                Women's Services
                All Services
                Patients & Visitors
                Locations & Directions
                Find a Physician
                Tour St. Luke's
                Patient & Visitor Information
                Contact Us
                Payment Options
                Financial Assistance
                Send a Card
                Mammogram Appointments
                Health Tools
                My Personal Health
                mystlukes
                Spirit of Women
                Health Information & Tools
                Clinical Trials
                Health Risk Assessments
                Employer Programs -
                Passport to Wellness

                Classes & Events
                Classes & Events
                Spirit of Women
                Donate & Volunteer
                Giving Opportunities
                Volunteer
                Physicians & Employees
                For Physicians
                Remote Access
                Medical Residency Information
                Pharmacy Residency Information
                Physician CPOE Training
                Careers
                Careers
                St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
                Copyright © St. Luke's Hospital Website Terms and Conditions  |  Privacy Policy  |  Patient Notice of Privacy Policies PDF Sitemap St. Luke's Mobile