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Examining the Effectiveness of 2 Solutions Used to Flush Capped Pediatric Peripheral Intravenous Catheters

White, Mary L. PhD, APRN-BC; Crawley, Jamie MBA/HCM, PhD, RN; Rennie, Elizabeth A. RN; Lewandowski, Linda A. PhD, RN

doi: 10.1097/NAN.0b013e31821da29a

An evidence-based study examined the effectiveness of 2 solutions, heparin and normal saline, when used to flush capped pediatric peripheral intravenous (CPP IV) catheters. This experimental study assessed patency, redness, swelling, clotting, bruising, leakage, and patient pain after each intervention/flush. Study participants included 62 children (32 heparin and 30 normal saline) who had CPP IV catheters using 20-, 22-, or 24-gauge catheters. No statistically significant differences were found in IV catheter patency between children in the normal saline group and children in the heparin group. A postimplementation follow-up study with 30 patients who received normal saline only as a flush experienced no patency issues.

Associate Professor, College of Health Professions, McAuley School of Nursing, University of Detroit Mercy, Detroit, Michigan (Dr White); Assistant Professor in Nursing, University of Windsor, Windsor, Ontario, Canada (Dr Crawley); Registered Nurse, Children's Hospital, Detroit, Michigan (Ms Rennie); and Associate Professor in Family, Community, and Mental Health Nursing, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan (Dr Lewandowski).

Corresponding Author: Mary L. White, PhD, APRN-BC, College of Nursing, Wayne State University, 26690 Huntington, Huntington Woods, MI 48070 (

Mary L. White has a PhD in nursing science at Wayne State University and is an associate professor at the University of Detroit Mercy. She also works as a nurse practitioner in the Detroit area. She is interested in evidence-based and interdisciplinary research.

Jamie Crawley completed her doctoral studies at Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, and is employed as an assistant professor in nursing at the University of Windsor in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. The Heparin-Saline project was a collaborative effort to change practice and policy through the completion of an evidence-informed research project.

Elizabeth A. Rennie is a registered nurse with an associate's degree from Henry Ford Community College. She has 33 years of experience at Children's Hospital in Detroit. She has been an infusion team member for more than 15 years. In 2008, she received the “Inspiration in Excellence Nurse Researcher Award.”

Linda A. Lewandowski has a PhD in clinical psychology and is an associate professor in Family, Community, and Mental Health Nursing at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. She is an Elizabeth Schotanus Professor of Pediatric Nursing and shares her time with Children's Hospital of Michigan.

© Copyright 2011 by the Infusion Nurses Society