Aspirate for IM deltoid injection



I know when giving a flu shot the sites are the butt or deltoid. If giving the IM in the deltoid, what's it mean to "aspirate" the muscle? How do you do this? I know it's vital to make sure we check to see if we draw blood during an IM so the pt. will not develop an embolism. Anyway, how do I aspirate the deltoid muscle on IM? We will be going over this in lab today, but want to be one step ahead


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Specializes in Emergency.

After you dart the needle into the deltoid muscle, you should pull back a little on the plunger (or aspirate) to see if the needed is in a vein. You can tell because blood will flow into the syringe. This technique is used with all IM injections, not just deltoid.

I'm right handed, so I find my "landmarks" with my left hand and hold the syringe with my right. After I dart the syringe in with my right hand, I take my index finger and thumb of my left and hold the base of the syringe while using my right hand to pull back on the plunger. You're checking to see if there is blood in the plunger - if there is, that means you're in a vessel so please, do not inject! If there is no blood, go ahead and follow through with the injection. As JessicaSN stated, this is done with all IM injections, not just the deltoid.

You do not need to aspirate with SQ injections and same with IVP meds; however, I remember during my OB rotation the nurse that watching me give some IVP meds - promethazine & morphine sulfate - made me connect it to the IV port and aspirate some of the IV fluid into the syringe to check for any preciptation prior to injection. The fluid that was running was something simple like normal saline or something like that but she told me it's good to get into the habit of this. My actual nursing instructor was not in the room, but I don't know if this is a pretty common practice among nurses?