How long can port-a-cath go without flushing

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    i work for home health. i have a patient who has a VAD (port-a-cath, lifeport) which was due to be flushed the end of last month. she was in the hospital and it didnt' get flushed. i am telling her it's long over due (this would be 7th week) but the family feels like it can go just a little bit longer. i've always been told to flush it every 4 weeks but they said they were told different. how long can these devices go without being flushed? thanks
  2. 14 Comments so far...

  3. 0
    Hi! I'm not a nurse yet but I had a port, and they told me it needed to be flushed every four weeks when I wasn't using it. I think that's the standard. Also I just googled it and found this website http://www.bardaccess.com/misc-faq.php that says this:

    QUESTION: How often should an implanted port be accessed and flushed?
    ANSWER: The port should be accessed and flushed every four weeks when not in use. If the patient is receiving continuous infusate, then the non-coring needles should be changed every seven days and as necessary. Patients at high risk of infection may benefit from more frequent dressing changes. Please refer to the Instructions for Use (IFU) for further details.


  4. 0
    it wouldnt hurt to flush it...last thing you need is a clogged PORT
  5. 0
    Standard of care is flush Q 4wks.

    Deviation from that should include MD order for frequency, to cya.
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    flushing a line cant hurt. its just clearing the line from being clogged. you dont want to have to send the patient to hospital to get it changed. educating the family is always good. I mean they didnt go to nursing school. i wouldnt go by them, your the nurse.
  7. 0
    Quote from fakemusician
    i work for home health. i have a patient who has a VAD (port-a-cath, lifeport) which was due to be flushed the end of last month. she was in the hospital and it didnt' get flushed. i am telling her it's long over due (this would be 7th week) but the family feels like it can go just a little bit longer. i've always been told to flush it every 4 weeks but they said they were told different. how long can these devices go without being flushed? thanks
    Standard of practice by Infusion Nurses Society (INS) is flushing every month to maintain patency of the device. What is your agencies policy? It is always important to follow P&P, and hopefully that P&P reflects INS standards.
    Can a port be flushed at longer intervals.. Yes, but you must understand the ramifications of this action. You see, after the placement of all IV catheters, fibrin will build up on the catheter's end (may be both internal and external developments) This fibrin build-up is a precurser to bacteria colonizing on the fibrin as well as leading to thrombus formation. Also, biofilm is another concern as flushing a line can lead to its disruption and subsequent "seeding" of the bacteria contained within. So.. if elongated periods pass without flushing a line, one can cause dangerous microbs to enter the blood system in a septic shock fashion.
    I always refuse to flush any port which has not been properly maintained after two months have passed.
    Does this help?
  8. 0
    4 weeks is standard.
  9. 0
    one month is standard
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    I work in an outpatient Onc clinic; we set our appointments for every 6-8 weeks for routine port flushes. Of course you always have people who forget or just don't want to take the time to come in for it. I think I flushed one a few weeks ago that hadn't been flushed in a year! Not smart. I did get a blood return though
  11. 0
    Quote from nursetmj
    I work in an outpatient Onc clinic; we set our appointments for every 6-8 weeks for routine port flushes. Of course you always have people who forget or just don't want to take the time to come in for it. I think I flushed one a few weeks ago that hadn't been flushed in a year! Not smart. I did get a blood return though
    "Hadn't been flushed in over a year..." WOW. I surely wouldn't have flushed it. Talk about Septic rush!


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