How to Remove Air Bubbles From an IV Tubing


Anyone who has ever administered an IV, had an IV while in the hospital or watched a television medical drama, knows that sometimes air bubbles can form in IV tubing. While some bubbles are unavoidable, too many can be a serious problem. That is why it is best to try to remove the air bubbles before you insert the IV into the patient. If too many air bubbles flow into the blood stream, the patient will be at risk of developing an embolism. Embolisms can be fatal.

Things You'll Need

  • Gloves
  • Pencil
  • Hold the IV tube between your thumb and index finger. Hold the tube above the air bubbles.

  • Tap at the air bubbles using a flicking motion with the index finger of your other hand.

  • Push your fingers up (the ones that are holding the tube) to help move the bubbles toward the drip chamber.

  • Wrap the tube around your pencil (two or three times). Start wrapping the tube around the pencil directly below the air bubbles. This will help to push the bubbles up toward the drip chamber.

Tips & Warnings

  • You should always wear gloves to protect yourself and your patient from harmful contaminates. Flushing the IV tube before you connect it will help to prevent air bubbles from forming. Tighten the clamp if you see small air bubbles. This will stop more air bubbles from accumulating. The clamp is the circular device that you can move up or down to change the flow coming from the IV.
  • Too many air bubbles in an IV can kill your patient.


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