Help! IV not properly flushed.. - page 2

I have started as an extern and I notice the the RN was I working with does not bother to flush the line. There was at least half of the line still filled with air and he connected it to the pt... Read More

  1. by   Safari-Traveler
    I don't know if any of you still read this thread, but I just wanted to give you a patient's point of view, mine.

    I received; I guess it was 8 (seemed like 50), treatments of Chemo for my cancer. In all the nurses were nice and attentive, aside from collapsing my vein on one of the first treatments (too fast a flow). So I had an arm port (where the tube was entered into my vein in my arm and was ran to my heart), and had that for the next 5 months or 7 treatments. It was a bit annoying, but probably better all around.

    Anyway, it was easy for them to administer the chemo to me from that point on, just hooking up an IV bag, etc. But I tell you, probably 5 out of 7 times (seemed like 19 out of 20 times), there was a good foot and a half length of air in the IV tube when they connected it to the port in my arm.

    I had heard all the same things as everyone else, so I silently freaked out to myself and thought the process would bring the air to the top... Not, I watched as this foot and a half length of air entered my arm, and I swear I could feel the bubbling in my heart (probably imagined it). So I voiced my concern and the nurse said not to worry, a little air doesn't hurt. Slightly comforted, I let it rest, but couldn't figure out how the body would proficiently get rid of that air?

    From then on I asked them to drip the line before connecting it to my port, but only one of them would. The other lazy "nurses" just said it won't hurt me.

    Anyway, I'm dying from it now... Just kidding. But I do have heart palpitations, labeled as "anxiety attacks" now, and I swear (again probably in my head) that it is because of the air that was let into my blood system.

    Background: It's been 4 years and I'm still in remission, good. I'm 31 now.

    Question: How the heck does the body get rid of that air (if hopefully it has a way)?

    Africa Dream Safaris man
  2. by   canoehead
    the air is reabsorbed in the lungs as the blood runs through.

    I have actually measured the amount of fluid in our IV lines- 10cc
  3. by   IVRUS
    Hello everyone...
    An important fact to remember here is that for that elderly pt, it may take as little as 7 cc's of air to cause them problems. Also, many primary IV sets hold 15 to 25 cc of air. The clinical IV site were I bring my students have a pump which requires a tubing which holds 27 cc. That causes another set of problems when you have only a 50 cc IVAB, but is for the most part resolved by using the IVAB as a secondary set with a primary just to flush.
  4. by   purplemania
    the vein already has oxygen, so SOME air being introduced is not critical. However, this is sloppy practice at best and the nurse is being lazy. Glad you could observe and note what is WRONG. Shows you have learned the difference between right and wrong. I hope you get in the practice of safe practice as that will certainly benefit your patients and might keep you out of trouble as well.