Help! Air bubbles! Exam tomorrow!

  1. I am a first year, soon to become second year, nursing student in Sydney, and tomorrow I have my first practical exam at uni.
    I have been practising my priming of an IV line all morning, and I cannot for the life of me get the airbubbles out of it, everytime I run it through, more appear in the Y in the line.
    Does anyone have any tips on how to get air bubbles out of IV lines?
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    About Lesles_85

    Joined: May '06; Posts: 2


  3. by   bargainhound
    Are you using a pump or just running the fluid through the line manually?
  4. by   Lesles_85
    It's manual.
  5. by   paacollins
    Air bubbles are by far the most difficult part of IVs for me. The best way I have found to get the bubbles out is to start at the beginning of the IV (the part closest to the bag) and start flicking with my fingers to move the bubbles away from the bag and down the line. Make sure to hold the tubing up so that the bubbles will flow upwards and toward the part of the tubing closest to the patient. Once you remove the bubbles from one section, continue on to the next. We also have roller clamps on our tubing and bubbles tend to "hide" under the roller. If you will take the roller completely loose, you can get all the bubbles out of that area. I have only done IVs in a lab so far, not on a real patient yet, but the only real problem I have is those stupid bubbles. lol Good luck.

    PS Some people snap the tubing to make the bubbles flow fast but I haven't mastered that technique yet. Flicking works best for me.
  6. by   Crocuta
    I remember in nursing school trying to get every last microscopic bubble out of the tubing.

    Here are my mostly serious suggestions:
    It's impossible within the time frame allowed. :-) So, relax and just do your best. Be sure to roller clamp the tubing before spiking the bag. If you don't, you'll end up with a whole tube full of air and fluid. Squeeze the drip chamber half full and then *slowly* run fluid through the line. Fast fluid rates trap more air along the way. As the fluid moves along, invert each injection port and give it a good flick as the fluid moves past. Those ports are the worst offenders for trapping a little bubble of air and then letting them loose into the fluid later when you think you're done. Another really bad spot is the pump section of the tubing. For some reason, you get lots of bubbles on the wall of that section. Invert that whole section, holding it tightly between your hands and use one finger to pluck it like a guitar string. The plucking also works great on other sections when there are fine bubbles on the tubing wall. Just remember that if you're trying to remove bubbles high up in the tube, you have to move that air all the way down. It breeds more bubbles like rabbits. So, get them early.

    If all else fails, whip out a 10cc syringe when the instructor isn't looking and aspirate the bubbles from each injection port. :wink2:

    And remember that this is an academic exercise. I've never actually seen a nurse stand there and get all the little bubbles out in practice. A few tiny bubbles won't hurt anyone and are really inevitable.
  7. by   ABerryGirl
    This seems to work for me...

    Close the infusion rate clamp, attach the iv administration set, hold the bag up high with one hand and squeeze the drip chamber with the other hand until it's half full. Then open up the infusion rate clamp to completely prime the line. I've found that if the drip chamber doesn't have enough fluid in it when you start to prime the line air can easily slip into it.

    Hope this helps....Good luck!
  8. by   bargainhound
    Another way to use the syringe is to pull the plunger out before you
    insert it in the IV line........the fluid just backs up into the syringe and the
    bubbles rise right through it.