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Flushing Dialysis Catheters

After obtaining a blood specimen from a dialysis catheter (only as a last resort, and with a Nephrologist order), our protocol is to flush with 10 ml NSS. If the patient has a trialysis catheter and we use the pigtail to obtain blood specimens, we flush with 20 ml. Can anyone provide insight regarding the difference in flush amounts? I am told that is the standard for dialysis catheters, but am unable to find any documentation to support it.

There really is no evidence

There really is no evidence to recommend XX amount of saline flushing through any catheter for any purpose. Larger diameter catheters need more volume to adequately clear the lumen, so 20 mL is often needed after blood sampling or after infusion of any viscous fluid infusion such as PN or blood transfusion. 

Lynn Hadaway, M.Ed., RN, BC, CRNI

Lynn Hadaway Associates, Inc.

126 Main Street, PO Box 10

Milner, GA 30257


Office Phone 770-358-7861

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