Flushing IV Question

  1. Hi!

    I have a question regarding flushing IV's. Today was my second day of clinical on a surgical floor. I was assisting an RN with temporarily disconnecting an IV. She drew up 2.5 cc's of saline to flush it because she said you have to flush it when you disconnect it. I asked if I could flush it (first time) and she said yes. So we went into the room together and she handed me the syringe and she told me just to push the saline into the IV site, the only thing is that there was a pocket of air in the syringe (not too big) and I didnt realize it before it was too late. I told the nurse after we had left the room and she told me not to worry and that occasionally small amounts of air will get into the IV tubing, as long as its not too much it isnt a problem. The client was fine for the rest of the shift, he had some tachypnea near the end of the shift but this was something that started yestaurday. She just handed me the syringe, since she drew it up I assumed she got all the air out.

    I am king of worried. Is this going to be harmful for the client? I will ALWAYS double check to make sure from now on!

  2. Visit netgeek profile page

    About netgeek

    Joined: Mar '05; Posts: 26


  3. by   jmgrn65
    No it is ok some air in a pheriphal line is ok. don't worry
  4. by   Spidey's mom
    One thing to remember is never give anything you didn't draw up yourself.

    I don't think that amount of air is going to hurt but I was taught in school to just get in the habit of not allowing air into the IV line and if it does get air then to remove it.

    Good for you for worrying about your patient. Always listen to your conscience.

  5. by   traumaRUs
    Always listen to your gut. however, in this case, this amount of air going into a peripheral IV isn't going to harm the pt at all.
  6. by   AnnieOaklyRN
    Nope it would actually take a large amount of air into a peripheral line to do harm. Remember oxygen diffuses through the pulmonary capilary bed from the aveolis, so your body IS able to handle gas.
    Just keep in mind you need to be careful with introducing are when handling Central lines as another poster said.

  7. by   Daytonite
    netgeek. . .that small bit of air that went into the patient's vein is not going to harm the client. There was a thread on the General Nursing Discussion forum a couple months ago about how much air could be pushed into a patient's vein. There is a specific test done in cardiology (can't think of the name) where they actually push 1cc of air into the patient's circulatory system to monitor it by fluoroscopy or ultrasound.

    Later in your nursing studies (usually when you are studying about intensive care and hemodynamic monitoring) you will want to read about air embolism, a complication of central IV lines that are accidentally left open to the atmosphere. When the patient takes a breath (inspiration), negative chest pressure sucks atmospheric air in through the open IV central catheter and right into the heart, which is where the distal tip of the central catheter sits. There are emergency actions you will need to know to take to prevent the patient from having any serious complications from this.

    However, as others have said, do strive not to inject air bubbles into patients. Those patients that happen to be paying attention to what you are doing will freak out on you if they've seen this used dramatically on TV or in the movies.
  8. by   netgeek
    Daytonite.... you dont happen to have a link for that thread? I tried searching for it and could not find it.

  9. by   Daytonite
    Ah! If you searched for the word "bubble" you would have found it! Here you go. . .

  10. by   netgeek
    Thanks Daytonite!!
  11. by   netgeek

    I was doing some reading in another thread about patent foramen ovales. And approx. 20% of adults have them. If air were to be injected into venous circulation on a pt with a foramen ovale couldnt it cross over into arterial circ? So now I am worried that the patient i talked about above, what if they had a patent foramen ovale? I am sure they didnt but if the pt did, if something were to happen wouldnt it happen almost immediatley? 8 hrs after and there was nothing, should i still worry?

    Sorry for the bother, but I got worried when I read about these foramen ovales.

  12. by   Melina
    If I remember correctly, the cardio test where they inject 1cc of air is a test for a PFO, so that wouldn't be dangerous. I always hear it called a "bubble test," but I'm sure that isn't what the cardiologist bills!
  13. by   muffie
    however, peeps with congenital cardiac abnormalities, we put a special filter on their iv's and saline locks
  14. by   netgeek
    ic.... As far as I know this patient didnt have a PFO, but in doing reading on them I just thought back about this incident and got scared that what if the patient had it and just didnt know it? if so the air would be harmful? The patient was in their 50's and as far as i know was relatively healthy.