One and Done: Prefilled Flush Syringes

 In Nurses Weekly

The authors conducted a short survey to learn more about the I.V. catheter flushing practices of RNs in the United States. Nurse respondents nearly always used a 10 mL Prefilled Flush Syringe (PFS) when flushing a central catheter (92% to 96%); 23% used either 3 mL (12%) or 5 mL (11%) PFS with the short peripheral catheter (SPC). This most likely reflects products available and the nurses’ knowledge of the appropriate volume to flush a central catheter versus an SPC.

Nurses were asked about their practices when giving a single I.V. push medication. More than half of the respondents (53%) said they use only one flush syringe if giving an I.V. medication via SPC; nearly three-quarters would use two PFS when giving one I.V. push medication via any central line. Approximately one-third of nurses “do not always” flush the SPC before administering an I.V. push medication, but nearly all (81% to 92%) flush before I.V. push administration via a central line. Respondents almost always (96% to 99%) flush after an I.V. push medication, regardless of line type. Most (83% to 90%) flush between medications when giving multiple I.V. push medications.

Only 40% of nurses indicated that they would never reuse a PFS to flush an SPC before and after a medication; 34% noted that PFS reuse was their practice “most or all of the time.” More respondents said they would never reuse the same PFS to flush before and after an I.V. push medication via central line (70% to 83%), but the percentages were still concerning.

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