The Importance of Priming Your IV Tubing
Healthcare providers may perform IV therapy to combat excessive blood or fluid loss, administer pain medication, or a plethora of other reasons. Because it is such a common occurrence, healthcare providers must follow all the best practices for using IV tubing. This includes spiking and priming tubing correctly. Although it’s a small part of the process, the importance of priming your IV tubing cannot be overstated.
What Is IV Tubing Priming
When used as a verb, the word “prime” means to prepare something for use, and this meaning applies to IV tubing. After spiking the IV bag, healthcare professionals prepare the IV tubing for use by sending a small portion of the fluid through the tubing before they attach the tube to the patient. The goal is to remove any large air bubbles from the IV tubing before starting an infusion.
Risks of Not Priming IV Tubing Correctly
The importance of priming IV tubing has to do with the risks associated with air bubbles in the tubing. Because the tubing puts fluid directly into a patients’ bloodstream, the presence of air can cause an air embolism. Air embolisms occur when air or other gasses enter a vein or artery, blocking the flow of blood. This can have serious side-effects, including breathing difficulty, muscle pain, and low blood pressure, and can result in grave health problems such as respiratory failure, heart attack, and stroke.
Tips for Proper Priming
Watch the Ports
One of the more common places for air bubbles to gather is in and around the ports. So, when priming, it is good to thoroughly examine these areas. Once you have unclamped your tube, try flipping the ports upside down and dripping fluid into a sink or garbage to remove the air bubbles. Sometimes, flicking or tapping the tubing will help encourage the bubbles to move out of the IV set.
Using a Sterile Syringe
At times, it may become necessary to use a syringe to remove an air bubble. In such instances, it is important to wash the tip of the syringe for at least fifteen seconds before inserting it into the lock. Even if the syringe is sterile, this step is necessary to reduce the risk of contamination to the tubing as much as possible. Once you have inserted the syringe, it is simply a matter of removing liquid until you have also removed the bubble itself.
With so many uses for IVs in healthcare facilities, it is essential to equip your staff with the materials and information necessary to provide quality care. Here at Med One Group, we can help supply your IV tubing needs.