I.V. ROUNDS: Drawing blood through a central venous catheter

February 2004 
Volume 34  Number 2
Pages 28 - 28
  PDF Version Available!


  • Basics first

  • Discard method

  • Push-pull method


    ALTHOUGH THE SAFEST and most accurate way to draw blood for lab work is via peripheral veins, you may need to draw blood through a central venous catheter (CVC) if the patient's peripheral veins are no longer accessible. Bear in mind that when you do so, you increase the risk of CVC-related complications, such as occlusion and infection. What's more, lab tests performed on these specimens may be inaccurate because of flushing solutions, medications, infusion solutions, or drawing techniques.

    If you must use a CVC to draw blood, follow these guidelines for safety and accuracy.

    Basics first

    All CVCs are I.V. devices whose tips rest in the superior or inferior vena cava. Examples include peripherally inserted central catheters, tunneled catheters, nontunneled catheters, and implanted ports. To maintain ...

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