Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario

Flushing Techniques

  • Flushing prevents the mixing of incompatible medications or solutions and/or cleans the catheter lumen of blood or fibrin buildup.
  • All VADs (peripheral and central) should be flushed using turbulent flush technique to prevent the mixing of incompatible medications or solutions and to reduce complications such as fibrin buildup or accumulation of medication precipitate inside the catheter lumen.
  • In order to perform a flush with turbulence, the nurse should use a push-pause (stop-start) method.
  • This allows the solution to “scrub or clean” the inside of the device wall to promote removal of blood/fibrin and to help prevent buildup of medication precipitate on the internal lumen of the device.
  • It is recommended that a 10 mL (or larger) syringe be used for flushing.
  • Larger syringes create less pressure when flushing and more pressure when withdrawing or aspirating.
  • Smaller syringes on the other hand produce more pressure when flushing and less pressure when withdrawing.
Clinical Management
Care and Maintenance to Reduce Vascular Access Complications
Point of Care Resources