mesa14. . .let me set your mind at ease. it takes well over 1cc of air to do anyone damage. 1cc of air is a lot of air. as an iv therapist i saw a lot of nurses get all kinds of air bubbles in iv tubings and never had a patient suffer any ill misfortune as a result. just a lot of sloppy nursing technique.
there is a previous thread about this: IV air bubble compensation
. while it is always good practice to try not to get air bubbles into iv lines and saline locks, it does happen and small ones will not hurt the patient. the blood in the veins makes its way to ever enlarging vessels which end at the right vena cava of the heart. the turbulence in the right vena cava breaks apart the air bubbles so they get even smaller than the size they started out. the first place an air bubble is going to get trapped is in the pulmonary network. however, after being shaken up in the right atrium and right ventricle a small bubble really is reduced to something smaller than a rbc.
in the thread above, i believe we talked about air embolism, a complication of central lines. air bubbles of significant amounts get sucked into the right vena cava though an accidentally opened central iv port and that air bubble has to be isolated in the apex of the right ventricle stat or the patient will be a goner. that is done by turned the patient onto their left side and placing them in reverse trendelenburg (head down). remember air floats up and that is exactly where we want that air bubble to "float" to the highest point of the heart which will now be the apex of the right ventricle (with the patient on the left side, head down).