These are general guidelines. Your nurse will teach you how to take care of your catheter. Be sure to follow the specific instructions he or she gives you. Call your doctor if you have questions or concerns.
To keep your catheter working right, you will need to flush it with a
heparin solution. A heparin solution is a liquid that keeps blood from clotting
in your catheter and blocking it.
Your doctor will give you a prescription for heparin and
the supplies that you will need. Many cancer treatment centers send supply kits
home to help patients care for their catheters.
You will need to flush your catheter every day and after each use.
Wash your hands thoroughly using warm water and
Gather your supplies, and assemble them on a clean area. You
10 mL syringe filled with
3 mL of heparin.
A blunt plastic
tube called a cannula.
Remove the prefilled heparin syringe and the blunt
plastic cannula from their plastic wrappers.
Remove the cap from the syringe.
Screw the cannula onto the syringe.
Do not touch the
tip of the syringe or the end of the cannula with your fingers or the work
Remove the cap from the cannula
Check for air bubbles in the syringe. Gently push the plunger
of the syringe forward until all of the air is out of the syringe. You should
have approximately 2.5 mL of heparin in the
syringe. Loosely replace the cap on the syringe.
Clean the end of
the catheter with an alcohol swab. Allow the cap to dry.
tip cover of the catheter and insert the tip of the syringe into the center of
the catheter cap.
Unclamp the catheter.
2.5 mL of heparin into the
Remove the syringe from the catheter and dispose of it in
a needle disposal container. You may use a coffee can with a lid or a needle
box. Do not throw your used needles directly into the
Repeat this procedure for each lumen of your catheter.
Do not reuse a syringe.
Dispose of your used
materials as directed by your nurse.