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Heart Lung. 1991 Nov;20(6):631-40.

Analysis of the research about heparinized versus nonheparinized intravascular lines.

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  • 1Department of Nursing, Boise State University, ID 83725.


This article is a review and analysis of published and unpublished research on the efficacy of both dilute heparin solutions and normal saline solutions in flushing and maintaining the patency of vascular catheters. Twenty studies involving both intravenous and intraarterial catheters in pediatric and adult patients are summarized and analyzed both quantitatively and qualitatively. Thirteen studies that were conceptually similar were subjected to a meta-analysis; no significant difference in duration of patency was found between intravascular catheters flushed with saline solution and those flushed with a heparinized solution. Implications for changing practice based on research findings are discussed.

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