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Best practice for locking a central line with heparin.

Specializes in Acute care and rehabilitation.

At our hospital we don't usually lock piccs with heparin but occasionally we have picc lines that have different end caps and clamps on the lumens. We were instructed to heparin lock these types as they were prone to clotting. So I have a couple questions

1. Do we always draw the heparin out prior to using the line again. I ask this because the heparin doesn't just sit in the line, it mixes with blood and when you go to draw it out, blood is immediately what you see. So how can we know how much made it to the patient and what volume of heparin remains in the line? Not to mention the amount inserted is 2.5ml and PICC lines depending on the length only hold 0.5-1ml.

2. With normal saline flushes we do 20cc to flush PICC lines. If it is an IJ which is about half the length of one inserted through the arm, would it be reasonable to flush with only 10cc of saline and then follow it with the heparin?

Thanks a bunch!

SarHat17, ADN

Specializes in CVRU, Intermediate.

First, I'd suggest checking your hospital policies/practices. If you don't find your answer there, or still have questions, talk with your educators and/or manager/PICC RN or team. These are all really good questions that need answered, and I bet there are others who want to know also.


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