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How to Flush & Record Input & Outputs For Drains

The practice of flushing drainage catheters is important to maintain their effectiveness. Recording when drains are flushed helps the IR (interventional radiology) staff in evaluating the effectiveness of the drain. The ability to determine the actual output minus the flush helps to determine whether the drain can safely be removed or another imaging study is needed. 

  1. Please record the outputs of drains in an appropriately labeled output column on the flow sheet each time the drain is emptied.
  2. Document the amount of flush in parenthesis in the appropriate output column on the flow sheet. (This will ensure the IR staff that flushing of the drain is being done.)
  3. Subtract the amount of flush and record a net amount of output each shift.
  4. Please include a 24 hour total of net output from the drains. If some or all of the flush is retained by the patient, the net output will be a negative number; please record it as such. If the output equals the amount of flush put into the drain, the net output will be zero; please record a zero rather than leaving the column blank.

Contact Us

Speak to our clinical coordinator for any of your treatment concerns.

Hours: Mon-Fri 8 am–5 pm 
Phone: 801-581-2967

Hospital paging operator: 801-581-2121 
Ask for the interventional radiology resident on call.

How to Flush Your Drainage Catheters

  1. Turn the three-way stopcock off to the drainage bag.
  2. Clean the infusion port on the stopcock with an alcohol wipe and connect the flush syringe containing the appropriate amount of flush.
  3. Gently inject the flush into the drain towards the patient.
  4. Turn the stopcock off to the infusion port; this will open the valve to allow drainage into the bag. Disconnect the flush syringe.
  5. Do Not Aspirate Drains without an order.

How to Clean Your Drainage Site

Drain site dressings should be changed every two to three days as well as any time the dressing becomes soiled or wet. The day shift then can report to the IR staff any problems at the site allowing a more expedient intervention if needed. Careful cleaning and site assessment should be done with every dressing change. 

Clean the site with sterile saline. If the site has crusted debris, you may use half hydrogen peroxide and half sterile saline to help clean the site. Use a gauze pad, cotton ball, or cotton swab as needed.

Dry the area and place a new gauze pad and a non-occlusive dressing over the drain site. Document any signs of infection—redness, purulent drainage, or red streaks extending from the drain site—and report them to IR or the attending physician. Also, report any drainage leaking around the drain to IR.