Flushing the PICC Line

The CDC recommends the concentration of flushing solution and the frequency of flushing a PICC line is determined in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions and per the treating clinician’s orders (CDC 2011).

To maintain patency and avoid catheter occlusion, the PICC line should be flushed before and after infusion with any substance (e.g. antibiotics, medications, etc) or when any blood sample is taken. Flushing is usually done with normal saline or heparin flush.

When the PICC line has been used to administer a drug that is incompatible with heparin, e.g. doxorubicin, droperidol, ciprofloxacin, and mitoxantrone,etc. the line should be flushed with 0.9% Sodium Chloride Injection, USP before and after the medication is administered (Drugs.com).

CDC Recommendations (Adults)

General Maintenance and Access Procedures for PICC Catheter

Blood Draws

Flushing technique

Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions of the catheter and the needleless connector for the appropriate technique to use; unless otherwise specified, perform the following:

Changing the Injection Cap (e.g., Needleless Connector)

Refer to manufacturer’s instructions for how frequently to change the injection cap; if information is not available, in general, change every week or when there are signs of blood, precipitate, cracks, leaks, or other defects, or when the septum is no longer intact.

Instant feedback:

In general, a 10cc syringe is the preferred size to flush



CDC Basic Infection Control And Prevention Plan for Outpatient Oncology Settings (2011) Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/hai/pdfs/guidelines/basic-infection-control-prevention-plan-2011.pdf

Heparin Flush Dosage. Drugs.com. Retrieved from https://www.drugs.com/dosage/heparin-flush.html