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How to Care For a Hepatic (Liver) Drain

You have had a drain placed in your liver, which you will need to care for until it is removed. This will include daily flushing the tube as well as cleaning the tube site and changing the dressing. You will need to keep the tube for at least two weeks to allow your body to heal before the tube is removed. We will set up a tube check when the drainage begins to slow down.

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.

Cleaning & Flushing Your Drain

You will need to flush the drain daily with 10cc of sterile saline. Flushing the drain will keep the tube functioning properly, allowing the abscess to drain and help you to heal.

  1. Turn the three-way stopcock off to the drainage bag.
  2. Clean the flushing port with alcohol and attach the flush syringe.
  3. Gently inject the flush.
  4. Turn the stopcock off to the flushing port and open to the bag.

After flushing, empty the drainage bag and record the output. Please subtract the daily flush from the output before recording. Bring this daily record to every doctor visit so that the drain can be evaluated.

Do not submerge the drain in water. Showering with the drain is permissible if you shield the drain from water. Cover it with a heavy zip lock bag and tape the top of the bag along the skin above the drain. Change your dressing after your shower to keep the dressing dry.

Cleaning Around the Tube/Changing the Dressing

It will also be important to change the dressing and clean around the tube. You will change the dressing every three days or more often if it becomes wet or soiled. Keep the dressing clean and dry. Remove the dressing and clean around the tube with sterile saline using a cotton ball or Q-tip. Place a clean gauze pad over the tube site and secure it with tape. 

When Should You Call Your Doctor?

If the tube site becomes red, irritated, or you notice a foul or off colored drainage around the tube, please contact the nurse from interventional radiology or your doctor.