IV Flushes

Nurses New Nurse


Hey Guys,

This is most likely the craziest question ever, haha?

So today I was flushing my patient's IV and after I had finished flushing I decided to check for blood return (which I normally do before I flush) but for some reason this time I didn't, there was no blood return.

So you know when you pull back on a plunger after it is on the patient's IV it has suction and if you don't get any blood return there is that empty space in the syringe that snaps back when you let it go because of suction....what is in that empty space before it snaps back?

Anyway, I thought DID I JUST PUSH AIR IN MY PATIENT???? Then I thought no you can't pull air out of your patient, so you can't push it back in, calm down!

So I still want to know what would you consider that empty space you see? What's in there???

I'm such a geek, I know!


Specializes in NICU, PICU, PCVICU and peds oncology.

You create a vacuum when you pull back on the plunger and get no blood return. That's why you get the big snap-back when you let go. There are consequences to this activity in that it can cause your IV to become interstitial or the vessel to develop phlebitis at the tip of the catheter where the vessel wall has been sucked up against it.

+ Add a Comment