IV air bubble compensation - page 5

Hello, I hope someone can help me with this question. I am a nursing student and it's been bothering me for a long time. What happens to air that enters the blood stream through a peripheral IV? I... Read More

  1. by   netgeek
    One other thing.

    Someone in a previous post brought up something about Patent Foramen Ovale. This is something new to me, but I understand that its a hole in the heart connecting the left and ride sides. Most sources say approx. 20% of adults have this. If air is injected into the vein and then goes to the heart can the air then go through the Foramen Ovale into arterial circulation?

    Most sources are saying that small amounts of air (under 10cc's) isnt really going to cause much harm and judging all the posts it seems to be agreeable.... but now im worried that what if the patient i mentioned in the above post maybe by some chance had some sort of foramen ovale. If the air went into the artery it would be fairly evident right away right?

    I am sure that this is nothing... but I worry about these things.

    Thanks
  2. by   LilPeanut
    Quote from Agnus
    HOWEVER, I have always had a problem with being told that a central or picc line could receive zero air as it was very very dangerous to get even a tiny amount of air in. This NEVER has made sense to me. The Central or PICC is going into the left venterical for heaven sake. To me it should be less of a risk because of this for the reasons already cited. (large chamber means nothing to block and turbulance breaks up the bubble.

    PICCs and other central lines do NOT rest in the left ventricle. They are going up through the vena cava and resting right at the entrance to the right atrium.

    If your PICC is resting in the left ventricle, you're in huge trouble because it's then come up through an artery!!
  3. by   Mommy TeleRN
    We have pretty cool IV pumps - you press a combo of buttons and it back primes all the air and fluid back into the bag. Nifty for air above the cassette.
  4. by   netgeek
    anyone know anything about my above post about foramen ovales???

    Thanks, I appreciate it
  5. by   Little Panda RN
    What about IV bags hung to gravity. If the bag was to run dry before it is stopped is there any consequences to the patient. I have seen this happen and the patient was okay. I did notice that the bag was completely collapsed. A new bag was hung with new tubing. But it made me wonder if the patient got any air into their circulation.
  6. by   UM Review RN
    Quote from nd_mom
    What about IV bags hung to gravity. If the bag was to run dry before it is stopped is there any consequences to the patient. I have seen this happen and the patient was okay. I did notice that the bag was completely collapsed. A new bag was hung with new tubing. But it made me wonder if the patient got any air into their circulation.
    If you had looked carefully, you might have seen that there was still liquid in the tubing of the IV and that no air had gotten into the patient. The reason that the fluids are not completely empty and the veins are not sucking air when IVFs are hung to gravity is that the blood pressure is higher than the pressure of the IVFs when the bag is empty.
  7. by   Daytonite
    i had started to compose an answer to this for you, nd mom, when my internet connection dumped me off line and i lost it all. angie o'plasty, rn explained it. this is the same reason why you never put an iv bag below the level of the patient's heart--the pressure in the person's vein will begin to push blood back into the iv tubing. you'll also get some blood backing up into an iv line with an empty iv bag from the patient moving their limb around a bit once all the downward actions stops. that aggravates the problem since this blood will get trapped in the iv cannula. if it sits there a while, it firms up (clots) and you have to restart the iv as well. these were common problems back in the days before iv pumps were required on all ivs (yes! there was a time when we counted drops and had to make hourly rounds on our ivs!)
  8. by   BonesGilmore
    sadly, not all hospitals here in our country uses IV pumps...
    what about antibiotic or amino acid sidedrips that are infusing only for 30 minutes? what if it run dry? Does a small amount of fluid still remain on their bottles?
  9. by   Roy Fokker
    Quote from BonesGilmore
    sadly, not all hospitals here in our country uses IV pumps...
    what about antibiotic or amino acid sidedrips that are infusing only for 30 minutes? what if it run dry? Does a small amount of fluid still remain on their bottles?
    Yes - so long as the bottles/bags are not below the level of the heart. Venous pressure is higher than atmospheric pressure - which is why if you cut/enter a vein, the blood comes out.... air doesn't get sucked in.

    Physics is physics - no matter which part of the world you're in It is also the reason piggy-backs are hung at a higher level than main fluid

    cheers,
  10. by   wargie3
    my wife is 29 and from el salvador when she was 24 prior to arriving here in the us she recieved an iv but she claims the nurse did not remove air from something injected into the line she then watched as a bulge formed where the iv was inserted and watched the bulge travel up her arm she then felt it enter her chest became very nauseated and faint. To this day she gets pain or cramp type feeling below or at her left breast any chance some damage could have been done or has anyone heard of this before my wife says the nurse just watched as well maybe it was nothing hoping someone can help thank you
  11. by   Secretly
    Most doctors and nurses think it takes 5-10 ccs of air to cause any problems. Even small amounts of air infused over time can cause lung and tissue damage and lead to pulmonary hypertension. Tiny air bubbles cause traumatic tissue damage. Air infused into the patient no matter how tiny is potentially harmful in the long run.

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