Flushing the catheter

In some cases, it may be necessary to flush the indwelling catheter. This should only be done if you think it is necessary to restore flow. The reason may be the viscosity of the pleural effusion or ascites.

Information about flushing the catheter

You do not need to flush the catheter as a preventive measure. The suction in the vacuum bottles usually prevents the catheter from occlusion. This is because the vacuum extracts any particles caught in the catheter. Follow this procedure if you think that the catheter is blocked:

  1. Consider the option that there is no fluid.
  2. If you think there is fluid and if bags have been used for drainage, first try using a vacuum bottle to get rid of any particles.
  3. If you can’t restore flow with the bottle, you can flush the catheter using sterile saline solution, see instructions below.

Only physicians, or nurses on physician’s orders, are allowed to flush the catheter and aseptic technique is to be used.

If flow is not restored after flushing, the patient should be X-rayed to find out the reason (loculation or lack of fluid).

Necessary material

  • Flush tube(art.no. 50-7245A)
  • Valve cap (art.no. 50-7235A) or drainova® silicone cap (art.no. 9060)
  • 3-way stopcock valve
  • Syringe, 10-20 ml
  • NaCl 0,9 %
  • Alcoholbased disinfectant and gauze pads
  • Drainage set or drainage bag/bottle


1 | Connect the 3-way stopcock valve with the syringe containing NaCl 0.9% to the flush tube. Then fill the entire flush tube with 0.9% NaCl to remove the air.

2 | Remove the cap from the catheter and discard it.

3 | Disinfect the safety valve.

4 | Connect the flush tube to the safety valve on the catheter and flush with 0.9% NaCl. Then aspirate to see if flow is restored.

5 | Disconnect the flush tube with accessories from the catheter safety valve. Then drain the fluid using a drainage set (or drainage bag/bottle) according to the instructions.

6 | Disinfect the safety valve.

7 | Put on a new cap.

Do you have any questions?

Here are some of our frequently asked questions.