Heparin is a type of anticoagulant substance naturally found in the lung and liver and checks blood clotting in the body. It helps protect against pulmonary embolism. It helps to prevent the spread of infection in a patient. Catheter is cleaned with the help of heparin flush solution. Since the catheter is long in size it needs something to prevent the blockage caused by clotting of the blood. The anticoagulant properties of heparin flush helps to keep the solution in the IV catheters flowing smoothly.
Catheter is a concave tube made out of plastic or rubber. It is used to drain fluids from the body. A soft catheter is a very flexible and sleek tube whereas a hard catheter is a solid and hard tube. Nowadays, the Gibbon and Walsh catheters are prominently used in hospitals. It is preferred over other catheters as it drains the fluid from the urinary bladder after prostatectomy without causing any problems such as infection or blood clotting. Other clinical conditions in which Gibbon catheter is regularly used are urethral fistula, and urethral stricture. A cardiac catheterization is carried out if you are suspected of having coronary heart disease. It is often recommended to confirm the diagnosis of congenital heart defect. This process involves injecting X-ray dyes in the coronary arteries for highlighting the blockages. Heart catheterization is recommended in valve disease to monitor the flow of blood in the valves. Catheters are many times attached to drainage bags for collecting urine. Specially made Condom catheters are used for patients suffering from dermentia.
Heparin Lock Flush solution is made from sterile heparin sodium injection. Ample amount of sodium chloride (0.1 %) is added to this solution to make it isotonic for blood. Its potency level ranges between 90.0 percent to 120.0 percent, measured in USP Heparin units. So to increase its shelf life, appropriate preservatives are added to the solution.
The heparin solution is unsuitable for oral or injectable use. Right dosage is injected inside the catheter through hypodermic syringes. Ready-to-use heparin flush syringes are prepackaged with diluted doses.
Paramedics have to be careful while injecting heparin shots into the catheter. If the platelet counts are low, doctors recommend saline flush instead of heparin. Individuals allergic to heparin must skip this procedure. Smokers react badly to heparin shots. Heparin Flush is hazardous to health if not administered properly and hence should be used only under the supervision of trained nurse or doctor. If you are advised to use it at home, it is always better that you understand all the methods of its administration properly. If you are taking any other medicines, you should tell your doctor about them, as there are certain medicines that react with heparin flush.
There are several side effects which may occur due to heparin flush. Patients may suffer from headache, mood swings, dizziness, constipation, and menstrual disorders. Some of the serious side effects of heparin flush include consistent bleeding from cuts and gums, heavy and prolonged menses, nose bleeding, dark urine, and black stools. Heparin-induced thrombocytopenia-HIT or heparin-induced thrombocytopenia and thrombosis-HITT can be caused in some patients. Loss or pain in limbs, confusion, slurred speech, changes in vision, swelling and rashes are some other side effects of Heparin Flush solution. It is a known fact that interaction of drugs can change the effect of prescribed medicine and hence while using heparin flush, it is necessary that you let tell your doctor about other medicines you are taking regularly for chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, thyroid etc. Some of the drugs that interact with the anticoagulants in the heparin flush include ibuprofen, naproxen and aspirin. Heparin flush is also known to interfere with prothrombin used during laboratory testing.