HF 7974

How to Flush a PICC Line or Tunneled Catheter

If you are getting medicines in the home through a PICC line or tunneled catheter, your home health agency will teach you how to care for this line.

Your line should be flushed every day and after each use. Your nurse may advise you to flush more often if needed.


  • 1-prefilled 5 mL heparin syringe (10 units/ml) per lumen

  • Alcohol wipes

  • Gloves


  1. Clean work area.

  2. Gather supplies.

  3. Wash hands with soap and water.

  4. Put on gloves.

  5. Scrub the hub of the needleless connector with an alcohol wipe for 15 seconds. Allow hub to dry and prevent anything from touching it until you attach the flush syringe. Note: If anything touches the hub before you attach the flush syringe, stop and scrub the hub again for 15 seconds. Then proceed to step

  6. Remove the plastic cover from the syringe. There is a small amount of air in the syringe. Point the syringe up, and gently push the air out of the syringe.

  7. Connect the syringe filled with heparin to the hub of the needleless connector. Twist on completely. Note: If the tip of the syringe touches anything other then the end of the catheter, stop, and replace syringe.

  8. Unclamp catheter.

  9. Begin flushing using a push-pause method on the syringe plunger. Push the contents of the syringe into the catheter, leaving a small amount of fluid in the syringe. Note: The fluid should flush easily. If it is hard to push, check to make sure the clamp is open, and the catheter is not kinked. If it is still hard to push, do not force the plunger. Call your home care nurse or clinic.

  10. Remove syringe. Throw it away in the trash.

  11. Clamp the catheter.

  12. If you have multiple lumens, repeat steps 5-11 for each lumen.

7974 FlushPICC