Specialties Emergency


does anyones policy allow vaccutainer use for blood sampling on portacaths? Please e-mail me at [email protected] THANKS!!!


1,091 Posts

Specializes in ER, PACU, OR.

we can use whatever means we want to retreive blood from a porta-cath. just remember, always take out about 4-5cc 1st......so that the samples are not diluted with heparin or the saline. also, if they flush the port with heparin, you cannot draw your blood for coags off it. unfortunately heparin binds to the cath material, and the results will be altered.

me :)


145 Posts


As an agency nurse I've worked numerous ERs. I have yet to find one that didn't allow you to use any available source. Some have very specific protocols, but when you need to draw blood, you take it where you can get it. Most of the protocols are similar to the ones described above.

Hope this helps.


Molly Lynne

3 Posts


We do not have a policy re using vaccutainers--however, I agree with the previous replies. ( ie remember to throw away 5cc, can't be used for coags, and flush well with saline with the addition of 2cc Heplock heparin (100u/cc) immediately after blood withdraw.

There was a short clinical features in an issues of Oncology Nursing Forum that not only dealt with the use of vaccutainers, it also addressed the fact that the blood is easier to draw if the bevel faces the catheter (ie the needle looks like it is put in upside down). We have used this for 4-5 years, and it works great!

neneRN, BSN, RN

642 Posts

Specializes in Emergency, Trauma.

How many of you use the vacutainers with ports? Just curious, I never have- always use syringes and I don't think I've ever seen anyone use vacutainers with them. Our policy states to draw off a waste of course and what size syringes, but doesn't address using vacutainers. Also, if you do use them, any problems with your draws?


1,093 Posts

a few points -

i have never used a vac. for blood draw from a port - all in all it should be a sterile procedure due to the fact it is a centrally located line - and i don't have access to sterile vac's... also the port must be flushed afterward - why stick the patient twice?!?! isn't that what the point of the port is - less sticks?!?!

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