Pre-filled saline syringes and checking central line blood return - page 2

Elsewhere on, a poster pointed out that one of the reasons why nurses shouldn't use prefilled normal saline syringes for diluting IV medications was that, in many cases, only the saline... Read More

  1. by   iluvivt
    This issue came up for us many years ago when these syringes became popular. The one way in which it did change my practice was when I was accessing ports. I used to be able to draw up the saline flush from a vial with one hand ungloved and the sterile gloved hand holding the sterile syringe and then set the syringe back onto my field and then apply my second sterile glove. Now I have to scoot the extension tubing while in the package to the edge of the wrapper and only pick up the sterile gripper when I am ready to access. We also make sure we do not place them on any sterile field as when in placing a midline,PICC or CVC as only the fluid and fluid pathway is sterile. I can assure there is no contraindication in using the pre-fills with and VAD. The risk of using using vials,other than for one time use poses a much greater risk for CVC-related infections and bloodstream infections.
  2. by   My_brain_hurts
    I think I understand. Original post is asking about sterility of the inside of the barrel when the part you use to push the med in (the "stem" of plunger. . .?) is touched? in clinical lab we were told NEVER TOUCH THAT PART because if you are drawing a med which requires you to pull back and then you push the med, the "contaminated" stem goes back into the barrel area, and if you had to push and draw a couple of times to get med ready, then you could contaminate.

    However, once in the real world I learned this was ridiculous and nobody had ever heard of that (ah, clinical skills lab!). A nurse could not function if that were true!

    Small note about mixing meds in prefilled syringe. . .
    I personally use one of our provided empty syringes to draw the med, and then draw from NS from the prefilled into the other syringe if I need dilution. I do this so when I walk into the room the syringe with the med in it LOOKS DIFFERENT than my flushes. Some meds I would NOT want to accidentally forget and push like a flush. I use a sharpy and label my syringe too, but I like things to be as different looking as possible! Maybe it's "new nurse paranoia", but it makes me feel better
  3. by   greenterra
    Yes, in an ideal world nurses would be able to maintain aseptic technique in the midst of poo. As a final note, some facilities do prohibit aspiration using pre-filled flushes, though it isn't clear whether aspiration is OK if there is some injection prior to the aspiration, so the plunger is never pulled back beyond it's original "sterile manufactured" position. For example, here is an exchange from

    Non-sterile pre-filled flush syringes
    Manufacturer of these syringes does not recommend using them if plunger will be pulled back (as in aspirating for blood return)before injecting as they are not packaged sterily and, therefore, the "back end" of the syringe barrel is not sterile and, thus, the contents may become contaminated upon aspirating. Argument is being given by some nursing folks that once a regular syringe is removed from packaging and handled to draw up hep/saline flush, that syringe is also not sterile.

    Has anyone addressed this issue in your facility, and what was the outcome?

    Katherine R. Stauffer, RN, CIC
    Shandsat AGH
    352.338.2121 ext. 3609
    Gainesville, FL

    Non-sterile pre-filled flush syringes (02)
    We were taught in nursing school techniques so as to not touch the plunger when drawing up medications.

    Sue Chen
    Infection Control Specialist
    California Dept of Health Services
    Richmond, CA

    I emailed Ms. Stauffer, and she OK'd my reprint of the above, and answered my query about whether they had come to a final conclusion about aspirating with flushes. She said:

    Based on dialogue with the manufacturer, our decision was to use the syringes only when it is not necessary to aspirate, and definitely not to mix a med in a syringe -- i.e., when the plunger would be pulled back into the non-sterile pathway.

    Kay Stauffer, RN, CIC

    I don't know if this thread helps anyone or merely muddies the waters, but thanks so much for the information that everyone has given!

  4. by   kimberlee713
    I am a clinical specialist with one of the major manufacturers of the Pre-Filled Saline Syringes. These PF syringes are NOT sterile, only "clean". However, once you remove them from the wrapper, they are no longer clean, you just touched them with your hand. This includes the plunger which does in fact enter the syringe when depressing it and pulling back causes any flora on the plunger to be introduced into the sterile saline and any medication you may have diluted with the saline. PF syringes are to be used for FLUSHING ONLY.

    ***NO vascular access device should EVER be aspirated for blood return except a Central Line. The purpose of Positive Pressure flushing is to maintain line patency, aspirating blood causes blood to pool in the VAD reservoir, resulting in a clot, resulting in occluded VAD.

    BTW, this practice of "aspirating" also holds true for those of you that were inadvertently taught to inject air into a vial prior to withdrawing the medication. When you pull back the plunger of a syringe, you are introducing airborne bacterial flora into the syringe. There is no evidence that vials require air to withdraw medication.