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Minimum CVC infusion rate

Hi Everyone,

Does anyone know if there is a recommended minimum infusion rate for IV administration thru a central line?  For example, if medication drip rate is 3.2ml/hr, should there be a maintenance IV running to  at least equal a total IV rate of at least 10mls/hr or is it safe to administer the medication at a rate of 3.2ml/hr by itself?  Is there a risk of the CVC clotting?  Vickie, RN, CRNI--Green Bay, WI        

There is no such

There is no such recommendation. There never has been a minimum rate established that will be sufficient to "keep vein open". There are numerous factors that lead to catheter lumen and vein occlusion and the flow rate is only one simple factor. A medication infusing at 3.2 mL would require an infusion pump to obtain accuracy. This would create a positive flow through the catheter, but it would not prevent fibrin/thrombus from forming around the catheter tip. So no such rate exists. 

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

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

Donna Fritz
My own experience with low
My own experience with low flow rates comes from home care experience.  We would frequently run meds/opioids/chemo 24/7 via Groshong tunneled caths between 1-2 mls/hr.  This usually was adequate to keep the line from clotting.  Exceptions might be those with hypertension and very active patients.  This was via a CADD pump.  I find hospitals like TKO at about 20 mls/hr.  One might expect hospitalized patients to be less active than at home.
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