Heparin versus 0.9% sodium chloride intermittent flushing for prevention of occlusion in central venous catheters in adults

NICE Quality and Productivity Case Studies
Queen's University Belfast
Publication date:
15 September 2015


There is no good evidence that flushing central venous catheters (CVCs) with heparin is better than flushing with normal saline solution (sodium choride 0.9%). Heparin may cause undesirable side effects and gives no benefit over normal saline, which has virtually no side effects. Heparin did not offer additional protective effects against complications associated with CVC use; namely, sepsis, thrombosis and haemorrhage. Therefore, intermittent flushing of CVCs with heparin is not recommended.