two questions about IVs

Nursing Students Student Assist


What is the difference between vented and non-vented tubing? When do you use each?

What is the difference between primary and secondary tubing? When do you use each?

I am working on cognitives and almost have them all finished. I have looked and looked for these last two answers and can not find them. Can anyone offer any help?

Thanks so much!

Specializes in Pedi Rehab,Pediatrics, PICU.

I am a new RN but.....I believe vented tubing is the tubing that has multiple ports along it. When a small air bubble get in the tubing, you manipulate the tubing so that the air nears a close port. You can then flick the port and the air escapes.

Non-vented tubing must be backflowed or advanced/re-primed to rid tubing of air.

Primary tubing is used when infusing 1 or more fluids. It is connected and hung with whichever fluis is used the most/continually such as NS. The tubing itself is long with a few "y" access ports. I believe the kit also comes with a blue hanger of sorts (if not primary, then in secondary).

Secondary tubing is used for "piggybacking" and infusing an intermittent fluid. The tubing is a little shorter, and doesn't have the "Y" ports.

When hanging a "piggyback" w/ secondary tubing, you use the blue hanger with the primary bag. The hanger allows the primary bag to hang lower than the piggyback, which is necessary for the system to work. You connect the piggyback or secondary tubing to the primary tubing. The primary tubing gets fed through the infusion pump. Pump is set for both primary volumes and piggyback volumes. After piggyback has been dispensed, the primary kicks back in. This helps prevent your line from running dry.

I know it's a lot, but I hope I explained it well. If I am wrong on anything, please feel free to correct me as I love to learn!!! :)

Specializes in med/surg, telemetry, IV therapy, mgmt.

vented tubing contains a small air inlet on the spike part of the iv tubing just above the drip chamber. it is used with glass iv bottles. vented tubing allows air to enter the iv bottle in order to displace iv solution as it infuses. non-vented tubing is used for collapsible plastic iv bags. a vacuum allows the iv bag to collapse as it empties. many tubing manufacturers now make a universal iv set that will act in either a vented or non-vented way depending on the need. the vent is capped and the cap merely needs to be removed if the vent needs to be utilized. when non-vented tubing is all that was available and vented tubing was needed in an emergency for a glass bottle we inserted a sterile needle into the stopper of the bottle to act as the air vent.

technically, primary tubing is the main tubing used to carry the iv infusion from the iv container to the patient. a secondary set is any tubing that attaches to the primary administration set for a specific purpose for either intermittent or continuous infusion.

[all above information is from page 307 of intravenous therapy: clinical principles and practice, by judy terry, leslie baranowski, rose anne lonsway and carolyn hedrick because i needed help figuring out how to word the information!]

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