When assessing the myriad of IV flush options, the professional must consider not only their efficacy, but also how well tolerated these flushes are by their patients.
Normal saline solution is the most common option when it comes to flushing intravenous catheters. Because it is isotonic, saline can reduce the risk of local tissue damage, resulting from the use of a catheter. It also is a great choice for flushing because it is readily available, cost effective, and can be emotionally soothing for the patient.
Alcohol dilution flush solution (or Alcohol Flush Solution) contains ethyl alcohol and is commonly used to support patient comfort. It is generally used to flush out more fragile catheters and can result in a decrease of patient apprehension. This solution is effective because it helps to increase the flow of the catheter and reducing any obstruction a patient may have.
For more critical flushing requirements, a heparin solution is recommended. This solution contains anticoagulant properties, meaning it acts as an anticoagulant agent to keep clots from forming in IV catheters. This solution can help ensure that the catheter remains free of blood clots or other debris which can ultimately result in a patient's comfort and satisfaction.
Finally, a glucose solution has been identified as an alternative. Rather than loosening up the catheter, the glucose solution helps to dilute and remove the debris within the IV catheter. It is typically used when the catheter is already blocked, as it helps to prevent any further blockage. This can help reduce the chances of catheter blockage and the need for additional flushes.
When it comes to selecting the correct IV flush option for a patient, it is crucial that the professional consider the patient's comfort and wellbeing as well as efficacy of the solution. Careful consideration of the patient's situation, risk factors and medical needs will help determine the best flush option.
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