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Secondary IV tubing question

Nurses   (30,211 Views 25 Comments)

General E. Speaking, RN is a RN and specializes in floor to ICU.

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Frequently, I find numerous secondary IV tubings hanging on the pole. One for Levaquin, one for Flagyl, etc..

I was taught (many moons ago) to try and keep the IV set as closed as possible to minimize contamination. I was taught to back flush with the main IV fluid in order to clear the line and then to use the same tubing.

I have emailed our education dept but was wondering what everyone else's policy says?

Thanks

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queenjean has 9 years experience.

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Well sure, you try to keep it as closed a system as possible. But, if there is only one hub/connector/opening thingy above the part that inserts into the pump, how can you run multiple secondaries through that? Many of our patients are on a couple of different piggybacks, and not all of them are compatible.

I leave the secondary hanging connected to the primary tubing if nothing else is supposed to run. But if there is something else, then we are to cap off all secondary tubings with a connector that has a tightly fitting cap (specific to that connector), to protect against some type of contamination.

I don't see how back flushing would clear the secondary line if you were reusing it with a different med--everything that was in the line would then flush into the next bag, so you would be mixing the remaining couple of ccs of one type of med with the next med, which would obviously lead to incompatibility issues. We only back flush to prime the secondary tubing initially; never to clear the med for use with a different secondary. Or am I not understanding what you are saying?

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oMerMero specializes in ICU.

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Ok, so say you have two antibiotic piggybacks that are incompatible. When the first one is finished, you back flush the maintence fluid into the empty bag unitl there is just maintance fluid in it. You clamp the secondary tubing, removed the first piggyback bag (that has the back flush), and the hang the second piggyback and unclamp the tubing. The two antibiotics are not mixed, and you use the same tubing with only opening the system to change the bag. The two antibiotics run through the same maintainence tubing, why can't they run through the same piggyback tubing? This is the way I do it. My hospital does not have a policy on it.

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all4schwa specializes in Neuro ICU, Neuro/Trauma stepdown.

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I hadnt thought of that, but i would say that would work...

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We use one line of piggyback tubing and backflush with the main IV fluid, keeping only one line hooked up continually (I am assuming there is compatibilty of the main IV fluid and the piggybacks here). If the patient does not have continuous fluids running, we keep a small bag of NS up to do the backflush with, in addition, flushing the enire line with NS after the piggyback is empty to ensure that the pt got all the medication that was in that piggyback bag.

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Ok, so say you have two antibiotic piggybacks that are incompatible. When the first one is finished, you back flush the maintence fluid into the empty bag unitl there is just maintance fluid in it. You clamp the secondary tubing, removed the first piggyback bag (that has the back flush), and the hang the second piggyback and unclamp the tubing. The two antibiotics are not mixed, and you use the same tubing with only opening the system to change the bag. The two antibiotics run through the same maintainence tubing, why can't they run through the same piggyback tubing? This is the way I do it. My hospital does not have a policy on it.

agree

backflushing is encouraged at present facility to save money by using only one secondary tubing instead of two or more

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41 Posts; 1,377 Profile Views

That does seem like a neat way to do it. I don't know what our policy is, but my preceptor told me that secondary tubing is only good for 24 hours, when the primary tubing is good for 96. Another nurse told me that as long as it's capped it's good. So I don't know where the 24 hours comes from, because if you left it uncapped it wouldn't be OK for 24 hours.

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UM Review RN is a ASN, RN and specializes in Utilization Management.

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Ours is supposed to be dated matching the primary tubing, so that the secondary tubings get changed with the primary.

We can run different meds with the same secondary set, but personally, I don't. I cap off individual secondary lines and use only what's properly capped off and dated.

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Hmm the only time I ever thought of back flushing is if there is air in the secondary line...that's an intresting idea. I personaly check compatibility. If it's two IVPB that are compatible, I reuse. If not, I get a new set and cap the old one. Ours are good for 72 hours or until the main line is changed.

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tridil2000 has 30 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in emergency/crit care/ admin/education.

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what brand pump do you use?

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General E. Speaking, RN is a RN and specializes in floor to ICU.

4 Articles; 1,337 Posts; 22,589 Profile Views

Ok, so say you have two antibiotic piggybacks that are incompatible. When the first one is finished, you back flush the maintence fluid into the empty bag unitl there is just maintance fluid in it. You clamp the secondary tubing, removed the first piggyback bag (that has the back flush), and the hang the second piggyback and unclamp the tubing. The two antibiotics are not mixed, and you use the same tubing with only opening the system to change the bag. The two antibiotics run through the same maintainence tubing, why can't they run through the same piggyback tubing? This is the way I do it. My hospital does not have a policy on it.

yes, this is what I mean!

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