Flushing and Blood sampling









Prof Samantha Keogh

Director, Flushing and Blood Sampling
Email: s2.keogh@qut.edu.au


Did you know that 85% of hospital patients need a vascular access device to receive intravascular (IV) drugs and fluids, and 90% of patients need an IV device for blood sampling? Although IV devices are very common, they are not without problems.


Vascular access devices have a pipe-like structure and to be functional, their internal volume must remain patent (open) to the free flow of fluids in both directions. Regular flushing with saline solution is performed to prevent occlusion and infection by minimising the internal build-up of biological or other substances, yet the optimal volume, frequency and method remain unclear. Flushing is a historical practice with a poor evidence base, and current flushing practices vary widely.

Very little research has previously been done in this field. Research conducted by AVATAR aims to increase understanding of the mechanisms of IV flushing, IV medication and IV fluid administration. Our findings will provide essential evidence to guide professional practice and improve patient outcomes.

Blood sampling

Patients undergoing anaesthesia and requiring critical care often need an arterial catheter for frequent blood sampling and invasive monitoring of the cardiovascular system. To facilitate this, pressurised administration sets are applied to the arterial catheter to maintain patency and facilitate continuous monitoring. However, blood sampling via these systems can result in blood wastage and contamination, which can lead to anaemia and infection.

Blood testing to inform clinical decision making is vital, and strategies to minimise unnecessary sampling and associated infection risk and blood loss have been developed. However, research suggests these strategies are not widely practiced in all adult, paediatric and neonatal ICUs.

AVATAR researchers have conducted important foundation research quantifying this clinical problem and plan trial research evaluating the impact of closed blood sampling systems and blood sampling analysis.


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