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What is the difference between a Saline Lock and an I.V. Site?


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#1 scrooks298

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 10:21 AM

What is the difference between a Saline Lock and an I.V. Site? Tactical Medical Solutions recently released a Saline-Lock Kit (Similar to NAR's and CMS's) along with a Vascular Access Kit. This question has been bugging me for a long time and I couldn't find an answer and was hoping the Tactical Medical Professionals on this site could explain the difference to me. So what is the difference between a Saline Lock and an I.V. Site?
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#2 Mustang0268

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 11:39 AM

"A heparin or saline lock is an IV without being attached to that damn pole. Conventional IVs attach to a tube that leads to a solution bag hanging on the pole. A lock is an IV that is attached to a little chamber on your hand filled with either saline or heparin, thus the name. It is about the size of a nickel and provides access to your venous system if the nurses need to give you any medication fast but allows you freedom of movement (no tubes or poles). I would DEFINITELY recomend it over the conventional IV with pole.Your doctor could even draw you a picture. The concept is simple but it's hard to explain. Just ask if my explanation was totally confusing" from AllNurses.com "Definition: The saline or heparin lock is a type of vein access that is used for many low risk mothers in labor at a hospital. It allows immediate access to the vein in the event of a complication, to delivery IV pain medications like Stadol, Demerol, etc., should the mother request epidural anesthesia, require a cesarean section (c-section) or have a postpartum hemorrhage.This catheter can also be used to deliver other medications like antibiotics for brief periods of time should the mother be group B strep positive or have had her water broken for more than 18 hours.Some hospitals have a protocol to only use saline in the IV, this keeps the IV flushed and opened. Some hospitals still use heparin, a blood thinner, as they are starting this type of IV access. This is not always the case." from About.com If you look up "Heparin or saline lock vs IV site tactical applications" there are several PPT and PDF documents that go into detail on the use of the Heparin vs a more traditional IV site. Mustang
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#3 Archangel1

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Posted 26 July 2012 - 05:12 AM

A saline lock is just a catheter (tube that goes into the vein) with an access port that is available to hook up IV fluids or directly inject medications into the vein.  The access port has a chamber behind it containing saline (fluid barrier) to keep blood from traveling up from the vein and clotting inside the catheter.  When attaching the IV or syringe, one inserts the IV or syringe into the port to start the flow of medications.  One flushes the chamber with saline from time to time to keep the saline fluid barrier in the chamber and the catheter free of clots. The IV site is were the catheter or needle is inserted into the vein.  As an FYI, hospitals have been using needleless systems to meet safety requirements for many years.  I can't remember if it was OSHA or Joint Commission that required it, but the AIDS epidemic really pushed the needleless system into place.  You probably want to go with needleless, saline lock sets if you have an option.

#4 scrooks298

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Posted 26 July 2012 - 07:14 AM

Thanks guys, you guys gave great answers and helped clear this up for me. In the NAR Needle less Kits they still include a Small Needle, would that mean that the term Needle-Less is a mis-nomer? Lastly, just so I got this cold, A Saline Lock is an IV Fluid Site without the pole but it still has the tube for the fluids?
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#5 jinx667

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Posted 26 July 2012 - 02:48 PM

Yep, what they said.
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#6 Markus White

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 10:58 AM

Not familiar with the NAR kit, but you still need a needle to access the vein. Usually when they say needleless, they mean the port will either require just a leuer-lock type of connection to give meds or fluids, or a different port that is accessed by a mostly plastic "male part" that is inserted into the port, that is in the vein. Some of those types of ports will not work correctly if an actual needle is used in them. It will actually poke a hole in the port.

#7 Archangel1

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 11:35 AM

You can watch this video to understand how to install a Saline Lock and catheter system.  

#8 Nik C

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 10:42 AM

To elaborate and simplify on the above, there is really no difference between an IV site or Hep/NS lock. You start the line in the same way, with the same angiocath(needle and catheter), with a port added(which in the system I work in, we alway put them on in line for non-trauma IV's anyway, with trauma we go without for the sake of being able to run fluid in more quickly) so you can always DC it. They are "locked", or filled, with saline or heparine to prevent blood clotting which will plug it up. With heparine, you would draw a few ml's out before pushing any drugs or fluid through it. not necessary with NS locks, but Heparin locks remain patent longer. A "needless" catheter is a thin walled catheter that has a needle inside of it. Once you get your flash, you advance the catheter and hit a button that retracts the needle. So, its needle-less once it's in place. As opposed to inserting a needle, say for a blood draw, where the needle stays in the vein until you are done.
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#9 Barbaric

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 07:53 AM

Actually, what Nik said. There's no difference between a saline lock and a heparin lock aside from what's in the line. From my pre-hospital care perspective, we use saline locks...hang a bag of saline or dex and you're ready to go. Hep locks used more in a hospital setting when the IV site needs to remain for some time. At least that's my understanding.
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#10 gw812

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 08:12 PM

From experience, using a lock is a very good habit to get in to. Even do them in trauma cases (as long as your sup/med director likes it) because they can help protect that line. If you place them well an accidental hard tug on your line will have a harder time screwing up your work.




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