How Do I flush a PICC Line or Tunnelled Catheter?
If you are getting medicines in the home, your home health agency will teach you how to care
for this line.
Your line should be flushed every day and after each use. Your nurse may advise you to flush
more often if needed.
ξ 1 – prefilled 5 mL heparin syringe (10units/ml) per lumen
ξ Alcohol wipes
1. Clean work area.
2. Gather supplies.
3. Wash hands with soap and water.
4. Put on gloves.
5. Scrub the hub of the needleless connector with an alcohol wipe for 15 seconds. Allow
hub to dry and prevent anything from touching it until you attach the flush syringe.
a. If anything touches the hub before you attach the flush syringe, stop and scrub the
hub again for 15 seconds. Then proceed to step 6.
6. Remove the plastic cover from the syringe. There is a small amount of air in the syringe.
Point the syringe up, and gently push the air out of the syringe.
7. Connect the syringe filled with heparin to the hub of the needleless connector. Twist on
a. If the tip of the syringe touches anything other than the end of the catheter, stop,
and replace the syringe.
8. Unclamp catheter.
9. Begin flushing using a push-pause method on the syringe plunger. Push the contents of
the syringe into the catheter, leaving a small amount of fluid in the syringe.
a. Note: the fluid should flush easily. If you find it hard to push the fluid in, check to
make sure the clamp is open and that the catheter is not kinked. If it is still hard to
push the fluid in, do not force the plunger. Call your home care nurse or clinic.
10. Remove syringe. Discard in trash.
11. Clamp catheter.
12. If you have multiple lumens, repeat steps 5-11 for each lumen.
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor.
This is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because
each person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team
when using this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright © 5/2017 University of
Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#7974