To flush your catheter, you will need:
- Clean paper towels
- Saline syringes (clear), and maybe heparin syringes (yellow)
- Alcohol or chlorhexidine wipes
- Sterile gloves
- “Sharps” container. This is a special container for used syringes and needles.
Before starting, check the labels on the saline syringes, heparin syringes, or medicine syringes. Make sure it is the right strength and dose. Check the expiration date. If the syringe is not prefilled, draw up the correct amount.
You will flush your catheter in a sterile (very clean) way. This will help protect you from infection. Follow these guidelines:
- Wash your hands for 30 seconds with soap and water. Be sure to wash between your fingers and under your nails.
- Dry with a clean paper towel.
- Set up your supplies on a clean surface on a new paper towel.
- Put on a pair of sterile gloves.
- Remove the cap on the saline syringe and set the cap down on the paper towel. Do NOT let the uncapped end of the syringe touch the paper towel or anything else.
- Unclip the clamp on the end of the catheter and wipe the end of the catheter with an alcohol or chlorhexidine wipe.
- Screw the saline syringe to the catheter to attach it.
- Inject the saline slowly into the catheter by gently pushing on the plunger. Do a little, then stop, then do some more. Inject all the saline into the catheter. Do not force it. Call your doctor if it is not working.
- When you are done, unscrew the syringe and put it in your sharps container.
- Clean the end of your catheter again with a new wipe.
- Put the clamp on the catheter if you are done.
Ask your doctor if you also need to flush your catheter with heparin. Heparin is a medicine that helps prevent blood clots.
Follow these steps to flush your catheter with heparin:
- Attach the heparin syringe to your catheter, the same way you attached the saline syringe.
- Flush slowly by injecting a little at a time, the same way you did the saline.
- Unscrew the heparin syringe from your catheter. Put it in your sharps container.
- Clean the end of your catheter with a new alcohol wipe.
- Put the clamp back on the catheter.